By Duncan Mackay in London
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
July 25 - Britain's Alistair Brownlee hit the wall in spectacular fashion as he suffered his first-ever defeat in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championships Series in Hyde Park here today as Spain's Javier Gomez won his second consecutive race.
Brownlee was in contention for victory until the last 500 metres of the 10 kilometres run but when Gomez pulled away he was unable to respond and his legs went from under him on a course that is expected to form the basis of the one to be used for the London 2012 Olympics - which the 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be desperately hoping is not an omen.
In the end the world champion staggered over the line like a drunk as he finished 10th, ending a run of six consecutive victories in this series, a record stretching back to May 2009.
Among those that passed him was his brother Jonathan, who claimed the best result of his career to finish second.
Alistair immediately collapsed into the arms of waiting officials after crossing the line, where he was doused in water and taken for treatment, where he recovered quickly.
"Alistair is fine but exhausted," said Heather Williams, British Triathlon's performance director.
"There is no cause for concern."
Brownlee had missed the start of this series with a stress fracture but bounced back in style last month when he beat Gomez to win in Madrid, a victory he admitted had surprised him.
Brownlee had also beaten the Spaniard to win the European title in Athlone and there seemed little sign of his earlier problems as he competed strongly during the swim in the Serpentine and on the cylce leg around the Hyde Park watched by a crowd estimated at 100,000.
Even though he fell behind during the later stages of the cycling, Brownlee quickly established himself at the front of the run leg and looked set for another popular victory until Gomez pulled away.
"It's a special place to win and it's an awesome feeling," said Gomez, who clocked 1 hour 42min 08sec.
"I had to beat a great champion in Alistair but I just gave it everything and I didn't look back."
Jonathan Brownlee, 20, had to temper concern for his older brother with his delight after a performance that established him as a genuine contender for honours at London 2012.
"It is a dream come true to finish on the podium," said Brownlee (pictured left), who finished eight seconds behind Gomez but 16 seconds in front of Germany's Jan Frodeno, the Olympic champion.
Brownlee's previous best performance in a World Championship Series event was in Kitzbuehel last year when he had finished 13th.
In this corresponding event 12 months ago he had come home in 26th place and in Madrid last month 28th.
"It was a bit of a shock to find myself on the front," said the 2009 European junior champion.
"Javier pushed on and I had nothing left.
"I don't know what happened with Alistair as he just seemed to stop, he's a great champion and he will bounce back from this."
Russia's Alexander Bryukhankov, who had entered the event as the overall leader of the series, finished fourth and surrendered his place at the top of the World Championship rankings to Frodeno.
But, with two races left in the series, in Kitzbuehel on August 14 and the Grand Final in Budapest on September 8, 27-year-old Gomez is looking like he is on an unstoppable charge to regaining the title he won in 2008.
Despite Alistair Brownlee's collapse, it was still an encouraging day for Britain as Stuart Hayes finished eighth, giving the host nation three men in the top 10, matching the performance of the women yesterday.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
July 2010: Brownlee looking to defend London title against star-studded field
July 2010: Spaniard sounds warning to Brownlee with brilliant victory in Hamburg
July 2010: Alistair Brownlee wins European triathlon title
June 2010: Brilliant Brownlee caps comeback with sensational World Championship series victory
March 2010: You can keep Florida and South Africa, Yorkshire is where my heart is says Brownlee