Leeds bids to host Brownlees’ Rio send off in debut ITU World Triathlon Series stage

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The Brownlee brothers could be in for a home city send off to the Olympics, as Leeds bids to host a ITU World Triathlon Series stage in 2016.

If successful with its bid to join other international hosts such as Cape Town, Auckland, Chicago and Abu Dhabi, Leeds City Council aims to secure another world class televised sporting spectacle following the 2014 Grand Depart.

Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee celebrates with his gold medal and Jonathan Brownlee (right) celebrates with his bronze medal after the Men's Triathlon at the London 2012 Olympics. Picture by Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee celebrates with his gold medal and Jonathan Brownlee (right) celebrates with his bronze medal after the Men's Triathlon at the London 2012 Olympics. Picture by Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

National governing body British Triathlon has selected the Leeds bid, which has been led by the council with support from Sport Leeds, Welcome to Yorkshire and others.

Olympic stars Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee have advised on a potential race route in the city, which would take in Leeds city centre and Roundhay Park.

Alistair said: “The ITU World Triathlon Series is about delivering world-class racing in iconic locations and Leeds will guarantee to do just that.

“I am sure that spectators will line the route and the city centre will be full of fans cheering on the athletes as we cross the finish line.

The event in Leeds would see Olympic-distance elite men’s and women’s triathlon races start with a 1,500m swim in Roundhay Park, before making the transition onto a 40km bike route into the city centre where they would complete a number of circuits before finishing with a 10km run through the heart of Leeds in front of possible crowds in excess of 40,000 spectators lining the free-to-view route.

The event would be supported by a mass-participation event which it is hoped would attract thousands of entries from people keen to take part in one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Coun Keith Wakefield said: “It would be something everyone could get involved with. We are just waiting to hear with fingers crossed now if we have been successful.”

The calendar of ITU World Triathlon Series events for 2016 is expected to be announced by the ITU in May, and Leeds City Council’s executive board at its meeting on April 22 will be asked to fully endorse the bid and the preparations which would be required in the event of the bid being successful. If Leeds is successful the cost of hosting the event each year is expected to be £230,000.

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