World triathlon champion Jonny Brownlee will miss his first big race of the season with an ankle injury. The Olympic bronze medallist, 22, planned to start the defence of his title in San Diego in 10 days time.
It was a race he dominated last year for his first World Triathlon Series win over the 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run distance.
He said: “I’m really disappointed not to be going to San Diego. But I’m waiting another couple of weeks to get myself race fit after injury. It's the right thing to do with a whole season ahead of me.”
His older brother Alistair missed the first half of last season as he battled back from an Achilles tear in order to be fit for London 2012. Following two stress fractures, It was the third year in a row he had been hit with a pre-season injury.
Jonny added: "I'm considering going to Yokohama next month to get my season underway there.
"I’ve not raced the World Series there before so that will be something to look forward to, and of course my focus is on getting to London in the best shape that I can.”
Ali set for California
Having opted to sit out of racing in Auckland on Saturday, Jonny Brownlee will have to turn in impressive performances in five of the remaining six WTS race, including the Grand Final in London in September, to have a chance of retaining the title.
Alistair, the Olympic champion, will line-up for the first time this season in San Diego having missed the 2012 event with an Achilles tear.
He is joined by David McNamee, Adam Bowden and newly-crowned GB duathlon champion Mark Buckingham on the start line.
The toughest competition is expected to come from Spain’s Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez who won in Auckland.
Kate Hewison, Jodie Stimpson and world under-23 champ Non Stanford represent Britain in the women’s field, with Helen Jenkins, who won in San Diego last year still recovering from long-term injury.
Image: Janos Schmidt/ITU