Alistair Brownlee captured his third consecutive Dextro EnergyTriathlon ITU World Championship Madrid race title and created some family history at the same time, when younger brother Jonathan Brownlee joined him on the podium in Spain.
With Alistair collecting gold and Jonathan silver, it’s the first time that both Brownlee brothers have medalled at a Dextro Energy Triathlon Series race and it came on the back of an lightning quick 10km run, where they worked together to hold off home favourite Javier Gomez.
Alistair Brownlee said while he hadn’t quite been expecting it, he was happy they had been able to podium together in Spain – the race where he made his international breakthrough back in 2009.
“Yeah absolutely, I suppose it’s not been a while coming, but it had to happen sometime and why not have it happen in Madrid, a race where I have done really well in and such a fantastic course,” he said.
Alistair had opened up a break on his brother in the last kilometre, but stopped and waited and the pair put an arm around each other before Jonathan made sure Alistair crossed first. Jonathan said it had been a nice way to top-off their first shared podium.
“It was really good we train hard together and it’s a bit strange because we’ve done it in small races but never in a world series, so it’s a bit of a strange feeling but really nice that he waited for me – it was really a special moment.”
Gomez came in third and is still yet to win his home event (since the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series was launched), as Alistair Brownlee has beaten him to it in 2009, 2010 and now 2011, but the two-time World Champion said he just couldn’t keep up.
“The Brownlees were just on a different level on the run, so I couldn’t do too much,” Gomez said. “I tried on the first lap, I tried to follow them but I know that was not my pace, I was waiting to see if they would slow down, but they didn’t, they went faster and they smashed me.
“We were the guys who worked the most on the bike through the whole race, and they still ran the fastest. So they are just impressive, congratulations to them and I will just keep on working and try to beat them in the next one.”
The three eventual medallists started well right from the swim in Madrid, they exited the swim with the leaders and were then part of an initial 11-man break on the bike, that quickly put on a 20second lead in the first lap.
That group, that included Gomez, the Brownlees, James Elvery, Frederic Belaubre, Dmitry Polyansky, Alexander Brukhankov and Aurélien Raphael, then steadily increased their lead with each lap on the tough Madrid course, that included a 400m hill with a 12 per cent grade climb. A small chase group with Ivan Rana, Hirokatsu Tayama and Jan Frodeno were just behind and just before halfway, reigning Olympic champion Frodeno caught the lead group to make it 12. Together, they continued to push out the laps quickly and entered T2 with an almost two-minute lead on the main bunch of athletes.
It was always going to be almost impossible to catch that top group then, and even more so when the Brownlees and Gomez started to break away. Then at around the two kilometre mark, even Gomez couldn’t catch up as the brothers turned on the burners and ran away with the race. Alistair Brownlee’s run split, even after he waited for his brother before crossing the line, was still a blistering 30-minutes, 8-seconds.
It was an all European top-10, and Germany had three in it with Frodeno finishing sixth, Maik Petzold ninth and Steffen Justus 10th. Victoria’s Simon Whitfield fell off the pace of the lead swimmers, then dropped further back during the bike, but ran 31:38 to finish 30th.
Overall, Gomez’s third place was enough to keep him in the lead of the Dextro Energy Triathlon Series rankings with 1485 points compared to Jonathan Brownlee’s 1480 points. Polyanksy moves into third place in the overall rankings, with 983 points. Alistair Brownlee is in fifth, a jump of more than 20 places after his 29th place finish in the first race of the year in Sydney.
Elite Men Results
1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) – 1:51:06
2. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) – 1:51:09
3. Javier Gomez (ESP) – 1:51:51
4. Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) – 1:52:02
5. Dmitry Polyanksy (RUS) – 1:52:30
6. Jan Frodeno (GER) – 1:52:43
7. Frederic Belaubre (FRA) – 1:52:45
8. Aurélein Raphael (FRA) – 1:52:49
9. Maik Petzold (GER) – 1:53:01
10. Steffen Justus (GER) – 1:53:04
30. Simon Whitfield (CAN) – 1:54:12