Leeds’s own Brownlee brothers battle for triathlon world title

Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee (left) and Jonathan Brownlee.

Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee (left) and Jonathan Brownlee.

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The remarkable Brownlee brothers of Leeds go head-to-head for the world triathlon title tomorrow as their dominance of the sport goes from strength to strength.

Alistair and Jonny go into the grand final of the ITU World Series at Hyde Park in London knowing the man who breasts the tape first will be crowned world champion.

For so long Jonny has followed where Alistair has led but even last year when the latter was winning the Olympic title, the younger of the two was striding out on his own to win his first global crown.

Now, after a year in which they have traded wins and injuries, the two-headed beast that has rewritten the triathlon rule book returns to the scene of last year’s memorable Olympic moment divided.

Olympic champion Alistair is the favourite to win the world title for a third time having claimed three wins this season including his last outing in Stockholm.

Jonny, who has three wins to his name including one at the sprint distance against his brother in Madrid, can retain his title with victory. Spain’s Javier Gomez, the man who split the two on the London 2012 podium, is the only one who can prevent another golden moment for the Brownlee family.

Alistair can afford to finish second to Gomez and still win, and, although he has crossed the line first three times in Hyde Park, he admits in some ways he would rather not have returned.

He said: “It’s a bit like everything with the Olympics, you build up to it over a period of years and then it comes and it happens and you’re not really sure how to react to it in the aftermath.

“When you wake up the morning afterwards, what do you go and do next?

“Coming back to this Olympic course is a bit like that. I never even thought when I was training for it last year that I’d be coming back and doing another race here.

“It is a bit strange. It would have been quite nice to draw a line under it last year and move on.”

It is not unusual for Olympic champions to struggle in the aftermath of achieving the biggest thing in their sport.

But, strange though things may have been post-London, the competitive fire inside Alistair burns just as strongly.

“I’ve achieved more than I ever set out to achieve or ever dreamed I would when I was an eight-year-old starting triathlon,” he said.

“That’s fantastic but it hasn’t altered my motivation at all.

“It’s been a tough year. I wanted it to be a little bit more low key. In some respects it has been but in some respects it’s been really hard because of everything that’s gone on.

“Winning another world title would obviously be wonderfully special, and even more so because it’s in London. Without a doubt it would be the most satisfying one.”

Alistair’s Achilles problem put him out of the reckoning last year, and Jonny took advantage to keep the world title in the family for the third time in four years.

The 23-year-old has proven since winning the Olympic bronze that he is ready to step out of his sibling’s shadow, whether or not he is willing to acknowledge so publically.

Jonny said: “Alistair tends to beat me over the Olympic distance but he’s had a tough year. Hopefully he’ll be fit but it’s going to be hard for him. Hopefully I can beat him.”

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