Competing less than a week after winning the world sprint title in Lausanne, Jonathan Brownlee was beaten into silver medal position in a sprint finish at the European U23 Tri Champs in Portugal on 28 August. The 20-year-old from Leeds pushed the pace throughout the run, but was beaten on the line by Portugal’s Joao Silva.
Competing less than a week after winning the world sprint title in Lausanne, Brownlee faced a tough field that included Silva and Russia’s Alexander Brukhankov – both of whom have achieved multiple top-ten finishes racing as seniors in the ITU World Championship Series this season.
Brukhankov led out the swim as expected, with Brownlee third fastest over the 1,500m distance. Brownlee rode in the lead pack on the hilly bike course and took to the front on the run as the three favourites broke away from the other runners. Brownlee continued his lead over the 10k run, breaking away with Silva from Brukhankov to set up an exciting sprint finish.
The crowd was able to celebrate a home victory with the Portuguese athlete claiming gold by just one second over Brownlee.
“Silva is an incredible athlete,” commented Brownlee. “And it was a really hard and hot race. I’ve moved on from the start of the season when I could only just get round these longer races. I’m learning all the time and now can’t wait for Budapest.”
Britain’s David McNamee finished ninth and fellow Scot, Ritchie Nicholl 16th.
Reigning World U23 Champion Hollie Avil was forced to retire during the second lap of the women’s race as a result of ill health. The 20-year-old has had an eye infection requiring antibiotics and will hope to make a full recovery in time for the World Tri Champs in Budapest in two weeks’ time.
Poland’s Agnieszka Jerzyk took the title in a time of 2:13:53
The European Youth Championships, which were also contested in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, saw Britain’s men’s relay team take silver behind the Italians. The women’s team finished fourth in a highly competitive race won by the Hungarians.
The men’s squad consisted of Simon Cooper, Morgan Davies and Gordon Benson racing in relay format over 300m swim, 8km bike and a 2km run. They recorded an overall time of 1:19.41 and finished just 14 seconds behind the winning Italian team. The French team was 11 seconds behind the British squad.
The women’s team consisted of Sky Draper (in her first event competing for GB), Georgie Taylor-Brown and Maddie Winzer – all of whom are young enough to return to this event next year. They finished fourth after a tough start, 29 seconds back from the bronze.
Look out in the next issue of 220 for an interview with one of GB’s finest up-and-coming athletes – Sky Draper. On sale 21 September.