GLORY DAYS - ON HOME SOIL
Alistair Brownlee smashed the competition at the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds (June 12) – delighting the fans who turned out in their thousands to roar him on to victory.
Younger brother Jonathan won silver in a clear demonstration that the Brownlee boys are back.
After a hard 1,500m swim in Waterloo Lake at Roundhay Park – a lightning-quick Alistair blasted his way out of transition and sprinted up the first punishing hill, tearing the field apart.
As Alistair held back the lead pack, looking over his shoulder for his younger sibling, Jonathan was able to join him but even so he was no match for his brother by the time they set off on the run.
Looking in his best form since the ITU World Triathlon London last May, the Olympic Champion ran through the 10km looking smooth, strong and in control.
He said: “Thank you Leeds! The people absolutely made it today. We had support like I’ve never known it.
“I think we’ve shown that Leeds loves sport; that’s by far the best World Series crowd there’s ever been. I know split transitions are a tricky thing to get right, but my god it’s worth it.”
Silver medallist Jonathan said: “You’re always going to struggle to beat Alistair on a day like that. He’s that good, especially on a hard course.
“I wanted to slap as many hands as I could in the crowd, but I was just too tired. The race was simply incredible. To have all those thousands of people watching round the course was a dream come true.”
In the women’s race the USA’s Gwen Jorgensen showed her prowess as she clawed back a huge time deficit and snatched victory from Flora Duffy (BER) in a nailbiting run.
Britain’s Jess Learmonth and Lucy Hall delighted the crowds by maintaining the lead with Duffy for the whole 40km bike section before being run down by the chase pack including Jorgensen, Vicky Holland and Jodie Stimpson.
As Duffy claimed silver a battle unfolded between Holland and Stimpson for bronze – with Holland clinching the sprint finish.
Stimpson’s fourth place strengthens her pursuit of the ITU world title. Only Duffy is ahead of her now. She said: “To win the ITU World Triathlon Series would be fantastic, but it will definitely be a challenge. Flora and Gwen are doing fantastically and it will be tough to get onto that podium at the end of the year, but that’s the goal.”
Non Stanford and Jess Learmonth finished inside the top 10 to complete a successful day for the British women.