Jonathan Brownlee maintains family dominance of World Series Madrid triathlon
Sunday, 27 May 2012
May 27 - Britain's Jonathan Brownlee dominated in Madrid at the latest round of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Series, making it the fourth year in a row either he or world champion brother Alistair has won the race.
Nicola Spirig, of Switzerland, claimed the women's title to continue her impressive 2012 season.
Brownlee (pictured top) seized the advantage during the bike leg of the men's race as he broke away at the head of a pack of nine, despite having earlier ripped his swim cap.
The early leader had been Richard Varga of Slovakia, who eventually finished 22nd, but he enjoyed an impressive swim nonetheless as did Russians Alexander Bryukhankov and Dmitry Polyanskiy, and France's Aurélien Raphael.
It was in the bike leg that two-time and reigning world sprint triathlon champion Brownlee shrugged off the group, aside from Bryukhankov who valiantly gave chase.
He eventually came second and Polyanskiy third, and with Ivan Vasiliev in fourth it meant that three of the top four were Russians.
"It was my perfect scenario really," said Brownlee, who completed the course in 1 hour 51min 49sec and whose victory followed a first-place finish in San Diego in the previous World Series event.
"It was a fast swim, with Richard Varga pushing the swim, and at the top of the hill we had 40 seconds on the main pack – every single time that kept going up and up and that encouraged everyone to work.
"Everyone else was great in that pack, everyone was working really well together and there was no-one that really missed a turn [during the ride] for the whole 40km, which was fantastic.
"Then I got onto the run and I felt okay from the first lap, and I pushed on from there."
Maik Petzold of Germany finished sixth to ensure he secured an Olympic spot while Colombia's Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero strengthened his personal bid to make it to London with a superb sprint leg to come 10th.
In the early stages of the women's race, Spirig was further back as Britain's Abbie Thorrington and Catalan Carolina Routier led the field out of the swim leg.
Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands, Britain's Vicky Holland, compatriot Liz Blatchford and Spain's Ainhoa Murua all forced their way into contention during the bike leg.
A threatening group led by Spirig, Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand, Chilean Barbara Riveros Diaz and Ireland's Aileen Morrison formed behind them.
They eventually closed the gap, but halfway through there were still 39 athletes within relatively close distance.
It was Spirig (pictured above, left), Murua, German pair Anne Haug and Kathrin Muller, Klamer, Holland and Tomoko Sakimoto who had the lead at the end of the bike.
The run was where Spirig came into her own, forcing the pace and taking the advantage with Morrison and Riveros Diaz in hot pursuit.
However, she showed her superb ability at the finish as she ran for the line to pick up a second World Triathlon Series title in Madrid, with Morrison second and Riveros Diaz third.
Spirig further strengthened her London 2012 hopes after she won the European title in Eilat, Israel, earlier this year.
"It was an amazing race for me," she said.
"I had lots of support from the Spanish people, and I felt good on the run and it was an amazing race.
"My training's been going really well too so I'm very happy at the moment.
"When I got there I thought, 'Well why not push this on', but in the last 800 metres I thought I was coming in fourth as my legs were like jelly and I knew Barbara had the strength."
Haug's fourth place finish ensured she will go to London 2012, as will German Svenja Bazlen who was 12th.
Nicky Samuels confirmed her spot in the New Zealand team with a 15th place finish.
Both New Zealand and Germany will send three female athletes to London ahead of Switzerland despite Spirig's heroics.
May 2012: ITU world series qualifying race will take place in Madrid
May 2012: Britons Brownlee and Jenkins top the field at ITU World Series meet
January 2012: Jonathan Brownlee tries out London 2012 athlete health equipment
September 2011: The threat of my brother for London 2012 Olympic gold has crept up on me, admits triathlon star Alistair Brownlee
August 2011: British "Dream Team" races to world title in Lausanne