Triathlon: Jonny Brownlee makes it a family double

Leeds's Jonathan Brownlee poses with the trophy as he won the world series after finishing second in the Elite Men's Race of the World Triathlon Grand Final in Auckland, New Zealand.
Leeds's Jonathan Brownlee poses with the trophy as he won the world series after finishing second in the Elite Men's Race of the World Triathlon Grand Final in Auckland, New Zealand.
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Leeds triathlon star Jonny Brownlee capped a momentous year for the family by adding the world title to his brother Alistair’s Olympic gold.

Jonny finished second in the World Series Grand Final in Auckland to clinch the title and complete the historic double.

The 22-year-old’s victories earlier in the year in San Diego, Madrid and Stockholm had put him in pole position to win the global crown for the first time.

He also won an Olympic bronze medal in London in August behind elder brother Alistair, who was twice a former world champion.

Jonny’s accomplishment means the two biggest prizes in the sport now reside in the Brownlee household in Bramhope.

“It’s great to keep the title in the family, it’s pretty special,” said Brownlee, who headed into the grand final with an 180-point lead over Spain’s Javier Gomez and who required just a podium finish to secure the overall title.

And that was what transpired on a wet day in Auckland as Olympic silver medallist Gomez got the better of Brownlee in a sprint finish.


Brownlee said: “It was a tough day. I thought when I woke up this morning that the weather was bad and that it was going to be a hard, pure triathlon and that’s what it was.

“The bike was really, really hard and for the first bit of the run everyone was tired.

“The first two laps were nice and easy and then Javier attacked, it came to a sprint at the end and my tactics were shocking; I led him out into the wind and he just came past me.

“I am pleased the season is over, it’s been a long year and I’m tired now.”

The world title confirms Jonny as a force in his own right and completes the set of global sprint and under-23 titles for the younger Brownlee.

Olympic champion Alistair had hoped to race in Auckland to support Jonny but has been forced to rest after having his appendix removed last month and headed on holiday instead.

Alistair won the world title in 2009 and 2011, but missed the first portion of the season because of an Achilles injury that almost threatened his Olympic hopes.

He recovered in time to win a world series leg in Kitzbuhel and then the Olympic title on an emotional day that saw his brother come home in third, despite having to take a 15-second penalty.

The fact that they both own the biggest prizes in the sport bears out their dominance in the multi-discipline event.

And in a nod to the brothers’ performance in London, Brownlee benefited from the strong swimming of Slovakia’s Richard Varga in Auckland.

Varga had trained with the Brownlees in the run-up to the Olympics, and he and Jonny worked together again yesterday to come out of the water at the end of the swimming leg in complete control of the race.

After setting the pace on the bikes they were eventually caught by the chase group as home favourite Kris Gemmell took up the running at the front.

Brownlee and Gomez hit the front in the run amid teeming rain but Jonny kicked for home too early and the Spaniard capitalised to sprint past him and take victory. Gomez crossed the line in two hours and 29 seconds, with Brownlee two seconds behind and Switzerland’s Sven Riederer another 47 seconds adrift in third.

Brownlee said: “Well done to Javier. He’s a great athlete and had a good swim, a good bike and a good run.”

Gomez said: “I felt quite good on the run, I tried a couple of times (to break clear) but Jonathan was so strong today so I stayed behind and focused on the sprint. With 150 metres to go I said let’s just go as hard as I can and see what happens and I am really happy with the victory.

“I knew it was almost impossible to be world champion here, Jonathan is a well-deserved champion.”

Britain’s Jodie Stimpson finished fifth in the women’s race on Saturday.

Stimpson was among an 11-strong group which looked set to contest a sprint finish until Germany’s Anne Haug pulled clear on the final lap of the run. Haug finished in a time of two hours 10 minutes and 48 seconds, 12 seconds ahead of American Gwen Jorgensen with Barbara Riveros Diaz of Chile in third.

In the under-23 race, Britain’s Tom Bishop claimed his second consecutive bronze medal, while Wales’s Non Stanford won the women’s under-23 title in Auckland. The 23-year-old Welshwoman has had an impressive season and crowned it in perfect fashion, winning by nine seconds.

Pep Clotet.

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