By Merryn Sherwood on 02/01/14 at 10:51 pm
In Auckland, with the finishing chute in sight, Brownlee surged first before Gomez caught him and held on to win the Grand Final race. But Brownlee’s pre-race points advantage meant he claimed the 2012 ITU World Championship title.
Fast-forward to London 2013 and a similar story was unfolding mid-way through the run, except that the World Championship title was very much on the line. While an ankle injury put Alistair Brownlee out of title contention early on in the 10km, Gomez and Jonathan Brownlee stayed almost shoulder to shoulder for 9km.
As they turned towards home one more time, Brownlee was in the lead with Gomez sitting comfortable on his heels. In the next 30 seconds Brownlee pushed the pace slightly, but nothing too dramatic and Gomez covered quickly. With 400 metres to go Gomez made his first move, coming up on the inside and into the lead. But it wasn’t serious enough to shake Brownlee and Gomez seemed happy to let him sit behind him as they again settled into a steady rhythm.
Then with two hundred metres to go, within sight of the blue finishing carpet, Brownlee gambled with an early sprint. He burst ahead with intent, but Gomez didn’t let him extend it more than a few steps. The pair then motor past a stationary Alistair Brownlee, who had stopped on the other side of the course to yell encouragement at his younger brother, and make the slight right turn into the finishing chute with Brownlee still ahead of Gomez.
The Spaniard then pulled a trump card again, gritting his teeth and outgunning Brownlee for the second consecutive year. A few metres from the tape Gomez glanced to his right and saw that Brownlee was at his limit. Once he realised he had it, Gomez turned to the finish line and pumped his arm, breaking the tape to confirm his status as one of the sports greats with his third ITU World Championship. Only Simon Lessing has more with four, while Gomez joins Peter Robertson and Emma Snowsill as athletes who have won three ITU World Championships.
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