Brown­lee suc­cumbs to calf in­jury

Multisport Mecca - - Mooloolaba Triathlon - Grant Ed­wards

IN­JURY has forced two-time reign­ing Olympic cham­pion Alis­tair Brown­lee to with­draw from Satur­day’s Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup sprint race.

Brown­lee, 29, is still in Noosa this week as part of his Com­mon­wealth Games prepa­ra­tions, but there is no chance of him join­ing the star-stud­ded field at the week­end.

He with­drew last week from the ITU World Triathlon Se­ries opener event at Abu Dhabi cit­ing a calf pull.

“There’s no chance of me not putting ev­ery­thing into a race and do­ing fur­ther dam­age,” he said.

Last year Brown­lee had surgery to ad­dress a chronic hip prob­lem. The triathlon su­per­star said he suf­fered an acute flare and had little op­tion but to go un­der the knife.

Yet he made a tri­umphant come­back last month, eas­ily win­ning Iron­man 70.3 Dubai in a time of three hours, 35 min­utes and 32 sec­onds over the 1.9km swim, 90km cy­cle and 21.1km run course.

Be­fore his sec­ond gold medal vic­tory at Rio in 2016, Brown­lee also un­der­went surgery in 2015 to ad­dress lig­a­ment and ten­don trou­bles that have dogged him for years.

The chal­leng­ing course of Mooloolaba, en­com­pass­ing Alexandra Head­land’s tough climb eight times on the bike and an­other eight times on the run, would put too much stress on his calf.

There will still be a high-qual­ity field com­pet­ing this week­end over the sprint dis­tance, which fea­tures a 750m swim, 20km cy­cle and a 5km run on Satur­day af­ter­noon that starts at 3pm for the men.

Queens­lan­der Luke Wil­lian will lead the fledg­ling Aus­tralian con­tin­gent, which will also in­clude Matt Hauser and the more ex­pe­ri­enced Ja­cob Birtwhis­tle, Aaron Royle, Ryan Bailie and Ryan Fisher. Also named to start are world ranked top 10 ath­letes South Africa’s Richard Mur­ray and New Zealand’s Ryan Sis­sons.

The women’s race will in­clude Amer­ica’s Kirsten Kasper and Canada’s Joanna Brown, as well as Aussie Char­lotte McShane.

“My prepa­ra­tion won’t change too much as I have been ready to race in March/April in the past few years for WTS races. In the past the swim has been hit and miss for me so I’m putting a lot of ef­fort into mak­ing sure it is more of a hit,” McShane said.

“I think the sprint dis­tance suits my strengths and I find this dis­tance a lot of fun and ex­cit­ing. The race is over be­fore you know it and it will be crazy fast from the very start. Every sec­ond counts and there is no time for hes­i­ta­tion.”

PHO­TOS: AP

SIDE­LINED: Bri­tain's Alis­tair Brown­lee has with­drawn from Satur­day’s ITU race due to a calf in­jury. BE­LOW: Aussie women’s star Char­lotte McShane.

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