It’s WTS Leeds and 80,000 spectators are out lining the streets hoping to see the Brownlee brothers in winning form in their home city. But could they deliver again on home turf? Without Spaniards Mario Mola and Javier Gomez in the mix their main opposition came from current series leader Fernando Alarza, also from Spain.
As expected Richard Varga (SVK) was first out of the swim with Jonny in second and Alistair not far behind. Both had a great transition and were out on the bike leg as part of lead group with two the Frenchmen Pierre Le Corre and Aurelien Raphael.
However the chase group, led by Alarza were chasing hard and halfway into the intro lap, when it looked like the leaders would get swallowed up, the Brownlees decided to break and go alone after it was clear the Frenchmen could not go with them.
At the end of the intro lap they had a lead of just 6 secs, but by the end of the first city lap the lead had extended to 11secs, and a fantastic second lap saw them double this to 24secs. Over the next five laps they would increase this lead to 01:13 – would this prove enough of a cushion to see them repeat last year’s success and take first and second?
The answer was an undeniable yes. There was no way these brothers were going to let anyone back into the race for gold and silver, and a one-two finish was soon assured but how would it fall? In the end it was Alistair again who made his famous dominating move with about 2km to go, and from then on the race was his.
Behind the Brownless the race was on for third between Great Britain’s Adam Bowden and Tom Bishop, and Alarza. Both Brits were looking strong and for a brief time there was hope Britain could make it a clean sweep on the podium, but with 4km to go Alarza made a decisive move and broke away for bronze, leaving Bowden and Bishop to take a fantastic fourth and fifth respectively.
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A historic day for British triathlon with Great Britain taking four out of the top five places.
“It was really special,” Alistair told BBC Sport. “You can never expect to win a race and know what is going to happen.
“The last few hundred metres leading up to Millennium Square was amazing. I will remember this experience for the rest of my career.
“We were riding really hard on the bikes. For the first three laps of the circuit, we were probably riding as hard as we ever have. That took it out of us on the run.”
Jonny said: “It was a hard way to do that race, to be the two of us from the end of the swim. If I want to beat Alistair, that is not the way to do it. I basically turned it into a long-distance hard man’s race and he is a bit harder than me.”
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Brothers go 1-2! @AliBrownleetri and @jonny_brownlee earn gold and silver in front of their hometown crowd! #WTSLeeds pic.twitter.com/RUgApOjxDC
— TriathlonLIVE (@triathlonlive) June 11, 2017