By Peter Holmes on 13/10/09 at 3:57 pm
Story by: George Scott - www.morethanthegames.co.uk
Don, who won the world triathlon title in Lausanne, Switzerland, three years ago endured a mixed season and failed to stand on the Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series podium whilst Brownlee - ten years his junior - won five of the eight series races and collected a silver medal at the European Championships. With victories in Madrid, Washington DC, Kitzbuhel, London and Gold Coast the 21 year old was crowned as the youngest ITU Triathlon world champion.
Don and Brownlee are both products of a strong British Triathlon development programme, with Don winning the 1998 world junior title, a feat Brownlee achieved in 2006 before adding the world under 23 championship in 2008.
However, the 31-year old Don insists his career has not peaked yet, although with just three places available in the British Olympic team, Don knows it will be a challenge just to get the selectors’ nod.
“I would like to think if I made the British team - which is probably going to be one of the toughest teams to make - then I’ll definitely be in with a shout of a medal,” he said. “But to hang it round Al’s neck now is crazy - so much can happen in three years. Three years before Beijing the results leaned to me but it was not to be. I’m definitely in a good, solid place now to build towards London. I think there is a place for team tactics but hopefully we’ve got three guys who can fight for a position on the podium. The British will have a really strong team and anyone one of us could win it.”
However, Don is not surprised by Brownlee’s emergence as the world’s number one triathlete, spending eight weeks altitude training with the 21-year old in St Moritz last year.
“It worked for us both, so we’re going to do that again in this off-season,” he added. “I’ve set myself a bit of a plan for the next three years. It depends on the calendar but this year was very much about learning. We tried a few new things in the winter - some worked, others didn’t but it’s useful to tweak things about a bit. It’s all about training smart, racing smart, trying to stay injury free and trying to still enjoy the sport.”
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