There was high drama in the men’s race at WTS Stockholm today with Jonathan Brownlee taking gold just ahead of his brother Alastair to keep his series hopes alive.
With the rain lashing down and water temperatures a Baltic 14.6˚C, the athletes must have been grateful it was a sprint distance race (750m/20km/5km) today. Supreme swimmer Richard Varga (SVK) predictably led out of the water, followed closely by the Brownlees, with series leader Javier Gomez (ESP) and his compatriot Mario Mola not far behind.
The damp blue carpet led up a steep cobbled hill to T1, and once on the bike Alistair and Jonny rapidly overtook training partner Varga to again form their own lead pack of two. Wet bumpy cobbles and driving rain made TV coverage haphazard from the motorbike cameraman, with the helicopter grounded due to conditions.
@220Triathlon seen more of the rag than the racing!
— Bryan P (@bryanpositive) August 23, 2014
By the end of lap one of five they had notched up a 14secs lead over a large chase pack that included Gomez, Mola and Murray, but the Brownlees didn’t leave it at that – accelerating hard enough to increase it to 23secs by the end of lap two, 38secs by the end of lap three, 46secs by the end of lap four and nearly a minute by the time they finished lap five and returned to transition.
It was Jonny who left T2 first with Alistair around 50m back, though the elder Brownlee and Commonwealth Games champion closed the gap around a minute later. With Jonny acknowledged as the better sprinter – and still with a chance of series victory, trailing Gomez by 496 points – Alistair clung closely to his brother’s heels.
— TriathlonLIVE (@triathlonlive) August 23, 2014
Further back in the chase pack, British tri fans were treated to the sight of GB athlete Tom Bishop leading Javier Gomez by a few seconds. There remained a 1min gulf however for the chase leaders like Anthony Pujades (FRA) and Richard Murray, which looked impossible to bridge with 1km to go. Portugal’s João Pereira made a late surge and Murray started to drop back, making it anyone’s race for bronze.
As the Brownlees came within sight of the finish, Jonny started to pull ahead – though with no hint of brotherly capitulation from Alistair – and crossed the line around 6secs ahead. The chase for bronze heated up nearly a minute behind, and Germany’s Gregor Buchholz managed to edge Mario Mola for his first WTS podium.
— Tim Heming (@Timheming) August 23, 2014
1. Jonny Brownlee (GBR): 57:31mins
2. Alistair Brownlee (GBR): +6secs
3. Gregor Buchholz (GER): +56secs
4. Mario Mola (ESP): +57secs
5. Richard Murray (RSA): +57secs
6. Joao Pereira (POR): +59secs
7. Anthony Pujades (FRA): +1:04mins
8. Vincent Luis (FRA): +1:12mins
9. Pierre Le Corre (FRA): +1:14mins
10. Alessandra Fabian (FRA): +1:28mins
(All images: Janos Schmidt/ITU)