By Merryn Sherwood on 06/09/11 at 9:25 am
The 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series started in Sydney, before heading to Madrid, Kitzbühel, Hamburg, London and Lausanne. Now after six brilliant rounds, that included three wins for Alistair Brownlee, one for Jonathan Brownlee, a stellar Sydney season opener from Javier Gomez and a first series win for Brad Kahlefeldt, the individual world title all comes down to Beijing.
Over the tough 2008 Beijing Olympic course, with a one-lap 1.5km swim in Ming Tomb Reservoir, the 40km deceptively tough bike leg and a 10km run, only one man will be crowned the 2011 ITU World Champion. Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Rankings are used to determine the best performing triathletes of the season. An athlete’s final score is obtained by adding the four best scores in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series events and the ITU Triathlon World Cup events, plus the points gained at the Grand Final.
Elite Men’s Preview
The medallists already look like some combination of Alistair Brownlee, Jonathan Brownlee and Javier Gomez, but it doesn’t take long to remember just how quickly things can change on the Grand Final day. Last year’s Budapest Grand Final was basically supposed to decide whether or not Jan Frodeno or Javier Gomez would be on top of the world. But Frodeno faded and finished off the podium, allowed compatriot Steffen Justus to claim silver, while Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt ran into bronze.
Still, it’s going to be hard to beat the two men who have dominated triathlon for the past three years, 2009 ITU World Champion Alistair Brownlee and 2008 and 2010 ITU World Champion Javier Gomez and the man who looks like he might be next, two-time ITU world sprint champion Jonathan Brownlee. Ali Brownlee has 3085 points, Jonny has 2965 and Gomez owns 2858 points.
Particulary as Alistair hasn’t lost a Dextro Energy Triathlon Series Grand Final yet, and if he wins, the ITU World Championship is all his. If Jonathan Brownlee manages to pip his older brother, then Alistair would still win if he finished second. For Gomez to win, he needs both Brownlees to finish off the podium and he needs to cross the line first.
Another World Championship would probably be fitting for Brownlee, given the way he has dominated the series format since its introduction in 2009. That year he won five out of the seven races. This year, he took that total to 10 with his win in London. Given at that stage there had been 20 series races, it meant he had won fifty percent of them.
But Gomez does have some history that he would probably like to change in Beijing, he was the favourite heading into the 2008 Olympic Games but ended up fourth, just off the podium behind Jan Frodeno, Simon Whitfield and Bevan Docherty. Alistair Brownlee also competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and finished 12th, but he had set the pace on the run leg before dropping off in the final few kilometres in the scorching heat. As seen in London last year, heat isn’t exactly Alistair Brownlee’s friend, he’s suffered from heat exhaustion before, but given this race is taking place a month after the Olympics the temperature is expected to be slightly cooler.
The dark horse in the field is Russian Alexander Brukhanhov, who will need a big upset to make it to the podium but he is closest in the race for podium spots on 2699 points. Brukhankov has had two podiums in the series this year, in Sydney and then separated the Brownlees in London.
Meanwhile, Frodeno returns to the site of his career’s greatest achievement; the 2008 Olympic gold medal. Also watch out for athletes from the USA and New Zealand, as neither had any male athletes meet automatic Olympic qualifying criteria in London and are now likely using Beijing results to determine some of those Olympic spots.
The 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final Beijing gets underway when the men’s race starts at 12:35pm (local time) on Saturday 10 September. Follow every movement live through Triathlon’s live video, timing and text updates, at www.triathlonlive.tv. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/triathlonlive.
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