Brownlee crowned Triathlon World Champion in Beijing
Whitfield finishes 13th.
Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee has firmly stamped himself as the man to beat at the London 2012 Olympic Games, after capturing his second ITU World Championship title in stunning style on the 2008 Olympic course in Beijing. In yet another dominating performance, Brownlee kept his winning record Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final races intact in Beijing on Saturday.
Brownlee has won each Dextro Energy Triathlon Series Grand Final since the series started in 2009 and after hitting T2 with a lead group of 30, he turned in his trademark blistering run in cold and wet conditions in Beijing to win the Grand Final, with Switzerland’s Sven Riederer just edging out Jonathan Brownlee for silver. Alistair finished with a run split of 29 minutes 50 seconds, even after stopping to high five spectators down the home straight.
Those results just confirmed the overall 2011 ITU World Championship rankings as they stood before Beijing, with Alistair Brownlee claiming the overall world championship with a points total of 4285 points. Jonathan Brownlee locked up the silver with 3992 points while last year’s World Champion Javier Gomez took the bronze with 3671 total points. Gomez finished sixth overall in Beijing.
In the end the conditions played perfectly to the older Brownlee, who stormed to wins in the wet in both Kitzbuehel and London this year, and said that as soon as he saw the tough conditions he was confident.
“When I woke up this morning and saw it was cold and wet, I just thought, ‘yes,'” he said.
“The swim was really easy…we came out first and second, then we knew the bike was dangerous so just really tried to keep in control. On the run, we were running and we got away and it was just like running through treacle today. Then I knew (Jonny) wasn’t really great, you realise that when you train together every day. I wanted to keep him with me but I realised I should probably go on that last lap. So it was just great to cross the line really.”
The win was Alistair’s 11th in a Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series race.
Jonathan said he was happy to hold on for Grand Final bronze, and his first elite ITU World Championship medal, after winning the Under23 World Championships last year in Budapest.
“It’s a real, real tough course here. It was a pure race, I was the first out of the swim, I didn’t actually really want to do that but a few people stopped swimming, so I thought ‘push on,’ he said.
“Then on the bike I thought we were going to get away, there was that group of five and thought we were going to get away. I started the run pretty tired, then I felt alright in the first couple of laps, but then all of a sudden my legs just went completely,” said Jonathan.
“I’m really pleased I held on for third because I could have quite easily given up, and thought oh this is a bad day, I’ll just come sixth or seventh. But it was a hard, hard race out there.”
Despite the cold conditions the race was quicker than the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the last ITU race to be held on the course. The elite men dove into Shisanling reservoir in the north Beijing district of Changping for the one-lap 1.5km swim leg. Jonathan Brownlee exited first, minus his goggles, and quickly jumped to the front alongside his brother and Russian Alexander Brukhankov. But more than 30 athletes went with them and despite repeated attempts to breakaway, the lead group stayed the same for the six-lap 40km bike.
A chase pack led by Australia’s Chris McCormack cut the gap to 30 seconds halfway through, but that dropped to 45 seconds on the final lap, leaving the lead pack with the only realistic chance to medal.
The Brownlees then jumped out to the lead, but couldn’t get more than 10 seconds on a group that included Gomez, Riederer, Brukhankov, Dmitry Polyansky (RUS), David Hauss (FRA) and Laurent Vidal (FRA) until lap three. Alistair Brownlee made his move there, dropping Jonathan. Gomez and Riederer then bridged the gap, before Gomez just fell off the pace and Riederer stormed home to finish second, ending a string of bad luck for Riederer in Beijing.
“The first time, I broke my toe, the second time I lost my wedding ring in the lake and the Olympics was very bad for me but now I am second in the Grand Final,” said Riederer.
Russian Dmitry Polyansky finished fourth, enough to move him up to an overall world championship top 10 finish. France finished with three athletes in the top-10 in the Beijing race, with Laurent Vidal fifth, David Hauss seventh and Vincent Luis eighth.
Reigning Beijing Olympic champion Jan Frodeno (GER), the last man to win on the Beijing course, pulled out of the race on the second bike lap. The other medallists from that Olympic race, Simon Whitfield (CAN) and Bevan Docherty (NZL) had better days, Whitfield’s 13th place was his best series result this season, while Docherty finished 19th.
Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU Triathlon World Championship Grand Final Beijing
Elite Men – 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Gold – Alistair Brownlee (GBR) – 1:48:07
Silver – Sven Riederer (SUI) – 1:48:14
Bronze – Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) – 1:48:17
4 – Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) – 1:48:20
5 – Laurent Vidal (FRA) – 1:48:24
6 – Javier Gomez (ESP) – 1:48:27
7 – David Hauss (FRA) – 1:48:35
8 – Vincent Luis (FRA) – 1:48:44
9 – Maik Petzold (GER) – 1:48:46
10 – Ivan Rana (ESP) – 1:48:50
13 – Simon Whitfield (CAN) – 1:49:18
38 – Brent McMahon (CAN) – 1:51:38
DNF – Kyle Jones
Final Standings – 2011 ITU Triathlon World Championships
Gold – Alistair Brownlee (4285 points)
Silver – Jonathan Brownlee (3992 points)
Bronze – Javier Gomez (3671 points)
4th – Sven Riederer (3306 points)
5th – Alexander Brukhankov (3208 points)
6th – David Hauss (3157 points)
7th – Laurent Vidal (2844 points)
8th – Dmitry Polyanskiy (2764 points)
9th – Will Clarke (2495 points)
10th – Brad Kahlefeldt (2217 points)