Jonny Brownlee has won the ITU world title in Auckland, New Zealand. He was narrowly beaten into second place in a sprint finish at the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final race by Javier Gomez, but only needed to finish in the top three to win the title.
Brownlee’s record this season has included three World Triathlon Series victories, two second places and third at the Olympic Games. This gave him a gap of almost 90 points over Javier Gomez in the Series and secured his first senior world title.
Brownlee had an exceptional swim with Slovakia’s Richard Varga. He said: “I swam very well. To get 30 seconds gap with just one athlete is special. That never happens.
“The first bit of the bike we had to work really hard, then we got caught. I started the run and I was pretty tired because it was a hard bike. It came to the sprint at the end and I was pretty bad tactically. I led him (Gomez) out and he came past me. He was great today.”
Brownlee knew at the start of the race that finishing the Grand Final in third place would be good enough to win the title. He added: “We started with a group of four on the run, as soon as we dropped Steffan Justus I knew I had won the world title.”
He now succeeds Alistair Brownlee as the ITU world champion. “It’s good to keep the title in the family, it’s pretty special. At the start of the year if someone had said year that Alistair would be Olympic champion, I’d be Olympic bronze medallist and I’d be world champion too I’d definitely take that.
“I’ve definitely been in my brother’s shadow up to now. It’s nice not to have him here and take the race to other people but it’s been a tough weekend; not having Alistair here there’s more pressure on me.”
David McNamee capped a fine season with a top ten finish. A silver medallist in the U23 world championships last year, McNamee has stepped up to senior level this year and ended the year well, despite a set back during the bike leg.
He said: “I came out of the water in the top ten, which for me is rather unusual. I felt great at start of the bike but on the second lap I punctured. Fortunately I was near a wheel stop and my bike pack managed to almost catch the leaders and I started the run like 15-20secs down.
“It’s a great day, could have been an exceptional day, but that’s racing.”
Aaron Harris finished 28th, Mark Buckingham 29th and Adam Bowden 33rd.
Britain’s juniors will all look forward to the ITU Grand Final being in London’s Hyde Park next September as they all have at least another year in the age group. Gordon Benson was fifth, Marc Austin 28th, Georgia Taylor-Brown ninth and Sophie Coldwell 15th.
Elite men’s results:
1. Javier Gomez ESP 2:00:29
2. Jonathan Brownlee GBR 2:00:31
3. Sven Riederer SUI 2:01:18
10. David McNamee GBR 2:02:06
28. Aaron Harris GBR 2:06:31
29. Mark Buckingham GBR 2:07:25
33. Adam Bowden GBR 2:08:57
ITU World Triathlon Series Rankings
1. Jonathan Brownlee GBR 4935 – ITU World Champion
2. Javier Gomez ESP 4845
3. Dmitry Polyanskiy RUS 3822
4. Sven Riederer SUI 3773
5. Richard Murray RSA 3575
6. Steffen Justus GER 3564