Alistair Brownlee won the third ETU European title of his career in Kitzbuhel, Austria, on Saturday. A turn of speed at the start of the 10km run saw him move comfortably away from the rest of the field to set up his first Olympic-distance win of the season and lay down a marker for his Commonwealth Games’ rivals.
Brownlee started as favourite for the win, but the Olympic Champion had to use all of his experience to stay out of trouble during the frenetic swim in Lake Schwarzsee.
At the halfway point of the bike course two big groups came together, forming one big lead pack of 54 athletes. Despite a few breakaway attempts, the lead group stayed together and entered T2 en masse. From there it was a one man show from Alistair Brownlee, winning by 28secs over the Russian Dmitry Polyanskiy.
Post-race Brownlee commented: “The swim was really, really tough, lots and lots of fighting. I tried to break away on the bike but the course is too fast here when it doesn’t rain so I managed to conserve my energy on the swim and bike.
“I knew my form was coming back. It was a lot better today. Every race has been better so far this year. The last three weeks I’ve trained as hard as I could and I think I’ve moved on. If I can keep doing that up to Hamburg and the Commonwealths I’ll be at my top fitness.”
He added: “The support on the side of the course was fantastic and Kitzbuhel is a great place to race. It’s fantastic to win. I’ve been very fortunate to win it three times now.”
David McNamee finished sixth in his first race of the season following a bike crash in February. He said: “I’m really happy actually, it’s really nice to be back. It’s been nine months since London last year and I’m more than happy with 6th place. It’s better than I could have imagined back in February.”
Matt Sharp was challenging for medals until he dropped back with stitch and finished 10th. He said: “I was feeling comfortable and then I got a bit of a stitch and the wheels fell off, once that happened there’s no coming back at this level.”
Commonwealth Games bound Scottish triathletes, Grant Sheldon, and Marc Austin finished 12th and 23rd.
1. Alistair Brownlee, GBR, 1:54.08
2. Dmitry Polyanskiy, RUS, 1:54.35
3. Vincente Hernandez, ESP, 1:54.39
6. David McNamee, GBR, 1:55.17
10. Matt Sharp, GBR, 1:55.48
12. Grant Sheldon, GBR, 1:55.54
23. Marc Austin, GBR, 1:56.48
Image: Janos Schmidt/ITU