Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brownlees Look to Steal Show with a Double Act

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brownlees Look to Steal Show with a Double Act

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie in Rio

THE reaction in Yorkshire when the Brownlees took up triathlon was one of partial bewilderment.

t. Jonny, 26, recalls straightfaced: "People thought it involved shooting and a horse. It was a weird sport that people didn't understand."

The brothers have done much to change the perception, thanks to Alistair's gold and Jonny's bronze at London 2012 and success on the world stage in the surrounding years.

Instead of misconceptions, Jonny says: "People now stop us in the street and ask us about the form of Javier Gomez and Mario Mola."

Those two Spaniards had been seen as the biggest rivals to the Brownlees, but five-time world champion Gomez was ruled out of Rio last month after breaking his elbow in a cycling crash. And although Mola has dominated the season, the terrain of the biking section means the Rio course does not play to his strengths.

The Brownlee brothers have had their own perils, with Alistair undergoing ankle surgery a year ago, then collapsing with heat exhaustion in the Gold Coast in April, while Jonny suffered a stress fracture in his leg to bring last season to a premature end.

But at their last two World Triathlon events -- in Leeds and Stockholm -- Alistair has led home a Brownlee onetwo, timely results in their final races before Rio.

So can the British public expect a repeat by the brothers? Alistair said: "I don't think you can expect it, really, but there's definitely a chance of it happening.

"The course really suits us. We like the hard bike racing, which should count against Mario Mola, and the theory is it would come down to a hard run at the end, hopefully between Jonny and myself -- but it's impossible to predict."

Ominously for his rivals, Alistair believes he was some way off his peak in both Leeds and Stockholm and has since completed a four-week training camp in St Moritz.

The 28-year-old says: "I don't think I'm a million miles off 2012 and the pressure we're under is nothing compared to London. Then it was off the scale.

"But the whole point of the Olympics is to get yourself into the best shape possible so you can win every way possible. You simply have to be in better shape than everyone else."

There are times when both have been in peak form, only for their challenges to dissipate, such is the demanding nature of the event.

"The really bad ones are terrible," says Alistair.

Jonny, 26, added: "Sometimes when you cross the line you think to yourself that if it had been another two metres further you wouldn't have made it because you're hurting that much.

WHEN Men's 3pm, "It's really that last seven kilometres of the run that the pain really begins and the mind and body start shutting down."

Jonny has learned from past difficulties. …

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