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Brownlee brothers say triathlon schedule is too gruelling, needs to change

Credit: Jordan Bryden
Credit: Jordan Bryden

In an interview with www.theguardian.com, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee insist the ITU calendar needs to be re-hauled to allow athletes more recovery and more travel time between events. On Sunday, the brothers will be on hand at the second annual Macmillan Brownlee Tri in Leeds, before taking some well-deserved downtime in their off season.

The sport is quickly gaining popularity in part due to an expanded ITU World Triathlon Series calendar, but with more races, more demands are put on athletes.

In 2015, there will be 10 World Series races in addition to various National Championships, as well as the Rio 2016 test event. Athletes will need to prioritize efforts.

Jonny Brownlee said: “I think it’s definitely the case with the World Series where if you’re not careful with training and travelling you are not going to have any good performances over the year.

“It could come down to a situation where the world champion is the one who has got the best travel agent and can do well over the whole season, rather than have great performances.

“That’s not what I want to do as an athlete. I want those one-off events and that’s why the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games are so good.”

Although he was the Olympic hero, Alistair Brownlee has not finished in the top three of the World Series since he last won the overall title in 2011.

“An event like Sunday [Macmillan Brownlee Tri] will show how big the Olympic legacy has been,” Alistair Brownlee said. “Four or five years ago people still thought of it as an extreme sport that nutters do, but now there really is that opinion that anyone can enter it to challenge themselves or raise money for charity.

“A lot of that interest has been down to the World Series and it’s a big step forward for the sport that all these major cities across the world want to have a World Series race – but it’s tough to expect athletes to race so much over a season that runs from March to September all over the world.”