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Brownlee brothers take Gold and Silver in Rio
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Thursday 18th August 2016


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Alistair Brownlee defends Olympic Games Triathlon Gold medal in Rio

Jonathan Brownlee adds Rio 2016 Silver to London 2012 Bronze as the Brownlee brothers dominate

Such has been the success of Team GB at Rio so far (and we're approaching the end of the Games now), you keep thinking that perhaps the bad luck streak is due. If it is, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee weren't going to let bad news start today. Perhaps this runaway train of success is going to continue all the way until the closing ceremony? If it could continue until at least 5pm on Saturday, that would be ideal from a British Triathlon perspective.

The history making brothers went even better than they did four years ago in London to take Gold and Silver today. Alistair was able to soak up the blue carpet and walk across the line, while Jonathan was well clear of the surprise Bronze medallist, Henri Schoeman (RSA). Once they pulled clear of a dangerous looking Vincent Luis around 1km into the run, the result never looked in doubt, just the order of the record-setting siblings from Bramhope to be decided.

The Race

The one lap, non-wetsuit, sea swim was predictably lead by Richard Varga (SVK), with both Alistair and Jonathan just a handful of seconds behind. There wasn't a significant break at the front in terms of the swim, just a long line of swimmers with the key time gap back to Spain's Mario Mola, 19 seconds. With Gordon Benson further back at 51 seconds, his day as a domestique on the bike was all but over in terms of direct assistance before it started. A crash and mechanical later on would force him out of the race anyway.

Not surprisingly, the pace was on from the start on the bike. The first climb on the eight lap bike course saw both Brownlee's side-by-side smashing it at the front and by the time they got to the top of that steep (but relatively short) climb on lap two, they had reduced the lead pack to ten. Most importantly, Mario Mola and Richard Murray (RSA) weren't there. As expected, Vincent Luis (FRA) and Aaron Royle (AUS) were, along with Andrea Salvisberg (SUI), Ben Kanute (USA), Marten Van Riel (BEL), Henri Schoeman (RSA), Alessandro Fabian (ITA) and Richard Varga (SVK).

24 seconds clear after one lap, double that after two and then over a minute after three of the eight laps - this was perfect. With every one of their key rivals (save for Luis) behind, and a pack of athletes who wanted to work for their own interests, the podium looked set to come from the lead group. That's how it stayed until T2. No reckless attacks, pushing hard on the climb, seeking recovery on the descent and ensuring water taken in board as the temperatures rose. If the race was to follow form, it would be the Brownlee's versus Luis on the run.

500m into the run... and it was the Brownlee's and Luis clear! The form of Luis was the real unknown. With no WTS races so far this year, we'd only seen him win a French Grand Prix race and the European Sprint Distance Champs. He looked great and a real threat. 1km later, he was looking at the backs of the Brownlee brothers disappear up the road ahead of him. Gold and Silver was looking not just possible, but probable. 

Taking great care to get water at all of the aid stations, the brothers shared the lead and extended their lead but without digging too deep, too soon. Both have suffered in the past in the heat - they had built an advatage and were being exceptionally professional in using it. Shortly after 6km Alistair upped the pace and a 10 metre gap to Jonathan was created in seconds. Jonathan still looked in control Alistair looked in the typical pain that he does - while pulling away, as he does...

Vincent Luis by this point was falling back through the field and that was the opportunity for Henri Schoeman (RSA), who took it with both hands. He's never (yet) finished on the podium in a World Triathlon Series race, but he wasn't going to blink with the chance of an Olympic podium there for him to grab.

There would be no late fade at the front, no drama's, no meltdowns. As the blue carpet approached, Alistair collected the Union Jack from the crowd and was able to enjoy the final 100metres, slowing to a walk, waving to the crowd and turning to applaud his brother. Brownlee Gold, Brownlee Silver. A perfect race.

From behind, Richard Murray (RSA) and Joao Perieira (POR) were making inroads from the chase pack, but it would not be enough to prevent Schoeman's greatest day.

A flawless performance from the Brownlee brothers. Alistair's claims for GOAT status (Greatest Of All Time...) just continue to get stronger. He's the first triathlete to win the Olympic Games twice. Can Nicola Spirig (SUI) do the same on Saturday?

Men's Olympic Games Triathlon, Rio de Janeiro - Thursday 18th August 2016

GOLD Alistair Brownlee GBR 01:45:01
SILVER Jonathan Brownlee GBR 01:45:07
BRONZE Henri Schoeman RSA 01:45:43
4th  Richard Murray RSA 01:45:50
5th  Joao Pereira POR 01:45:52
6th  Marten Van Riel BEL 01:46:03
7th  Vincent Luis FRA 01:46:12
8th  Mario Mola ESP 01:46:20
9th  Aaron Royle AUS 01:46:42
10th  Ryan Bailie AUS 01:47:02 
DNF Gordon Benson GBR  

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