Alistair Brownlee leads from start to finish in stunning Kitzbühel win
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Wet, windy and cold weather did nothing to dampen Alistair Brownlee’s stellar Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship series form, as the 23 year-old destroyed the field for the second time in two weeks to win Kitzbühel and take the lead in the overall 2011 standings.
Brownlee was the fastest man in the swim, equal fastest in the bike and then blitzed the field in the run for his second consecutive Dextro Energy Triathlon Series win – after taking out Madrid just two weeks ago – and move ahead of Javier Gomez and younger brother Jonathan in the overall rankings.
Afterwards, Brownlee said the conditions hadn’t worried him - except when he went to slow down at the end of the run.
“It wasn’t all difficult to be honest, I don’t think the conditions had that much of effect on me until the last couple of laps of the run,” he said. “I knew I had a decent lead and I knew I was racing next weekend (at the 2011 European Championships) so I kind of didn’t push on too much and I think that kind of hurt, and I think maybe I should have pushed on, I might have stayed a bit warmer.”
He also responded to comments that he was changing the sport, saying it was the best feedback he could receive.
“It’s fantastic, it’s the ultimate compliment,” he said. “I looked at the sport and I thought I want to be a kind of athlete who can win in any condition on any day, on any course, independent of how the race goes, and I think that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment. I raced hard out of the swim today, I managed to get away at the end of the bike, and then had a good run today too, so it’s great winning in every situation.”
In tough conditions - with a starting air temperature of 17.2degrees - Brownlee was first out of the water. After three groups came together in the first lap of the bike, Brownlee then stayed at the front of a huge 50-man peloton for five laps before making a break with Stuart Hayes and Reinaldo Colucci. Those three then hit T2 with a gap of 30seconds on the rest, just as the rain was really starting to pour. From there Brownlee simply blitzed the field, dropping Colucci and Hayes within a few hundred metres and going on to win by almost a minute. It’s the second time Brownlee has won Kitzbühel, he won in 2009 before finishing 40th in 2010.
While the gold medal was decided early on, there was a thrilling battle for the other podium places as Alexander Brukhankov, Brad Kahlefeldt, Sven Riederer, William Clarke and Laurent Vidal ran through and passed Hayes and Colucci in the first few kilometres. Just around the five kilometre mark, Brukhankov made a break and stayed clear to claim silver. Riederer then made his break on the bell lap, holding on to claim his second bronze medal for the 2011 season - after also finishing third in Sydney.
Riederer said that wasn’t a coincidence, as it also poured in the season opening race, and he’s a fan of cold weather.
“It was a perfect day for me, it’s a weather for me, I like it really much to have the weather like it was today and it’s fantastic to have the second podium for this season,” he said.
In other notable results, Chris McCormack’s return to ITU racing 14-years after he claimed an ITU World Championship had an early end, when he pulled out five laps into the bike. McCormack was one of the last out of the water and was about 4minutes down on the lead pack when he pulled out. Macca wasn’t alone though as the conditions claimed plenty, with Simon Whitfield, Courtney Atkinson and Steffen Justusalso pulling out.
Brownlee is now leading the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon Series rankings after three rounds, on 1690 points. Brukhankov is now in second with 1663. Javier Gomez and Jonathan Brownlee, who both didn’t race in Kitzbühel are in third and fourth, with Riederer moving up to fifth.
The women’s Kitzbühel race is on at 12.30pm local time tomorrow live on http://www.triathlonlive.tv
Watch the entire men’s race again on http://www.triathlonlive.tv