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Brownlee takes Kitzbuhel

DNF for Whitfield and McCormack.

Wet, windy and cold weather did nothing to dampen Alistair Brownlee’s stellar Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series form, as the 23-year old decimated the field for the second time in two weeks to win Kitzbühel and take the lead in the overall 2011 standings.

Brownlee was the fastest man in the swim, equal fastest in the bike and then blitzed the field in the run for his second consecutive Dextro Energy Triathlon Series win – after taking out Madrid just two weeks ago – and move ahead of Javier Gomez and younger brother Jonathan in the overall rankings.

Afterwards, Brownlee said the conditions hadn’t worried him – except when he went to slow down.

“It wasn’t all difficult to be honest, I don’t think the conditions had that much of effect on me until the last couple of laps of the run,” he said. “I knew I had a decent lead and I knew I was racing next weekend (at the 2011 European Championships) so I kind of didn’t push on too much and I think that kind of hurt, and I think maybe I should have pushed on, I might have stayed a bit warmer.”

He also responded to comments that he was changing the sport, saying it was the best feedback he could receive.

“It’s fantastic, it’s the ultimate compliment,” he said. “I looked at the sport and I thought I want to be a kind of athlete who can win in any condition on any day, on any course, independent of how the race goes, and I think that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment. I raced hard out of the swim today, I managed to get away at the end of the bike, and then had a good run today too, so it’s great winning in every situation.”

In tough conditions – with a starting air temperature of 17.2 degrees – Brownlee was first out of the water and then stayed at the front of a huge 50-man peloton for five laps before making a break with Stuart Hayes (GBR) and Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) with two laps to go. Those three then hit T2 with a gap of 30 seconds on the rest, just as the rain was really starting to pour. From there Brownlee was simply too good and too fast for the rest of the field, dropping Colucci and Hayes in the first lap. It’s the second time Brownlee has won Kitzbühel, he won in 2009 before finishing 40th in 2010.

While the gold medal was decided early on, there was a thrilling battle for the other podium places as Alexander Brukhankov (RUS), Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS), Sven Riederer (SUI), Will Clarke (GBR) and Laurent Vidal (FRA) ran through and passed Hayes and Colucci in the first few kilometres. Around the 5km mark, Brukhankov made a break and stayed clear to claim silver. Sven Riederer (SUI) then made his break on the bell lap, holding on to claim his second bronze medal for the 2011 season – after also finishing third in Sydney.

Riederer said that wasn’t a coincidence, as it also poured in Sydney, and he’s a fan of cold weather.

“It was a perfect day for me, it’s weather for me, I like it really much to have the weather like it was today and it’s fantastic to have the second podium for this season,” he said.

Clarke finished fourth, Kahlefeldt fifth and Vidal sixth. Russians Vladimir Turbaevskiy and Dmitry Polyansky, Frenchman Vincent Luis and New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty rounded out the top-10.

In other notable results, Chris McCormack’s return to ITU racing 14-years after he claimed an ITU World Championship, stumbled out of the gates when he pulled out four laps into the bike. McCormack was one of the last out of the water and was about four minutes down on the lead pack when he pulled out. Macca wasn’t alone though as the conditions claimed plenty, with Simon Whitfield (CAN), Steffen Justus (GER) and Courtney Atkinson (CAN) also failing to finish.

Brownlee is now leading the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series rankings after three rounds, with 1690 points. Brukhankov moves into second with 1663 points. Javier Gomez (ESP) and Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), who both didn’t race in Kitzbühel, are in third and fourth respectively, with Sven Riderer moving up to fifth.

View the Video Highlights here.

Elite Men

1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR)  1:51:54

2. Alexander Brukhankov (RUS)  1:52:38

3. Sven Riederer (SUI)  1:52:59

4. William Clarke (GBR)  1:53:08

5. Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS)  1:53:10

6. Laurent Vidal (FRA)  1:53:13

7. Vladimir Turbaevskiy (RUS)  1:53:17

8. Dmitry Polyanksy  (RUS)  1:53:20

9. Vincent Luis (FRA)  1:53:23

10. Bevan Docherty (NZL)  1:53:26

DNF Simon Whitfield, Chris McCormack, Courtney Atkinson