By Glenys Furness
- Alistair Brownlee retains the Olympic Gold
- Jonny Brownlee upgrades his London 2012 Bronze to Silver
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brothers Alistair & Jonny Brownlee executed a perfect race to seal both Gold and Silver.
When Alistair and Jonny Brownlee saw the course for the Triathlon, they knew where they would plan to strike. In an attempt to place themselves both on the podium again they would need a tactical race. Their main rival and the London 2012 Silver medalist Javier Gomez was absent from the event having broken an elbow, coming off his bike only weeks ago.
A very hilly course suited the Yorkshire pair, the brothers looked forward to the race. Richard Varga took an early lead during the 1.5km swim, the Brits kept him within sight staying well within the top ten places. Staying with the Slovak during the swim section the Brownlees would head into the first transition stage well placed.
Varga emerged from the swim first, with the Alistair not far behind in fourth place. Jonny was just a few seconds behind his brother. The younger Brownlee was however quicker in transition, heading out on the bike with the leading group.
Alistair didn’t take long to join up with his brother in the cycle section, which was where the brothers planned to work together and put pressure on their rivals for the title. With eight climbs involved in he 40km section the brothers kept working together and the pack started to split. Hills were nothing to the Brits, who live and train in the hills of West Yorkshire.
The leading group of ten riders opened up a 30 second lead, Mario Mola the Spaniard tried to close up the gap, but the Brits were having none of it. Cranking up the pressure on the Rio hills the Brits and the rest of the leading group increased the lead to over a minute.
Even a crash in the leading group could not dent the Yorkshire brothers determination. Thankfully both Brits were not involved, and the Canadian Andrew Yorke got back on his bike to continue the race.
Entering transition from the cycle part to the run section, Jonny arrived first. Having made an error at this stage in London, that led to him having a penalty there, costing him the Silver medal at that time, the younger Brownlee was spot on with the change and led out the run.
As Jonny upped the pace, only two other athletes were able to go with him, his brother Alistair and Vincent Luis from France. Luis dropped even further off the pace as the brothers kept the pace going.
It wasn’t long before the brothers dropped Luis in the extreme heat on the run. At the end of the first lap of the 10km run the Brits nearest challenger became Henri Schoeman who was ten seconds behind with the younger Brownlee still in Gold medal position.
Alistair then overtook his brother, Jonny stayed close until 4km to go when the older brother surged away from Jonny. The Yorkshire pair were still well clear of the South African, so barring any mishaps the siblings would both be on the podium, in the top two spots.
Moving into the closing stages, Alistair grabbed both a Union Jack and a Yorkshire Flag from the assembled crowd and jogged across the line, before crashing to the floor.Brother Jonny was not far behind, with the silver secured the younger brother crossed the line and fell to the floor too. Alistair is the first Triathlete to retain the Gold medal. Jonny upgraded the Bronze from London to Silver in Rio.
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