Brownlee blast

Alistair Brownlee makes Olympic history with an impressive win at the 2016 Rio Olympic games.

| August 18, 2016 | NEWS

Alistair (left) wins the Rio 2016 triathlon race, his brother Jonathan gets the silver medal. | Alistair (left) wins the Rio 2016 triathlon race, his brother Jonathan gets the silver medal.

Alistair (left) wins the Rio 2016 triathlon race, his brother Jonathan gets the silver medal.

Photo >Frank Wechsel / spomedis

So how on earth was there any doubt that Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee would dominate today’s Olympic triathlon? Once Javier Gomez was out, it’s hard to imagine any race scenario that didn’t have the two Brits dominating the way they did.

Watching the race today left most journalists trying to figure out why they hadn’t written up the story ahead of time. But for a surprise bronze medalist in Henri Schoeman (RSA), the race pretty much went as we could have predicted.

Leading for much of the swim, and then coming out first, we had Richard Varga, Igor Polyanski and Alessandro Fabian (ITA) leading the way, with Alistair and Jonny both right on their heels.

That’s when the fun began. The two Brownlees quickly went to the front of the bike and organized their own little pace group of 10 to escort them through the tough eight-loop bike course. Alongside the Brownlees were Schoeman, Vincent Luis (FRA), Aaron Royle (AUS), Marten Van Riel (BEL), Fabian, Varga, Andrea Salvisberg (SUI) and Ben Kanute (USA)  A lead of 41 seconds grew on each of the first six laps over the chase pack, getting to 1:14 after the seventh lap.

Richard Murray, the man who earlier this year would have been expected to be a viable threat to the Brownlees struggled in the water and was in the third chase group, but along with Canadian Andrew Yorke rode hard to get up to the main chase group.

Which might not have been a good thing for Yorke, who was won of a group of men who went down hard on one of the tricky descents, which certainly didn’t help the chase pack. By the end of the eighth lap Murray and the other super-runner in the field, Mario Mola (ESP) were 1:23 down as they started the run.

During the first few km of the run it looked like Luis might actually challenge the Brownlee brothers, but before the end of the first of the four 2.5 km laps he had been dealt with. Despite the hot conditions, Alistair poured water on himself at every opportunity and was happy to run with his brother through the halfway point of the run.

Rather than gain time, Murray and Mola found themselves losing time to the leaders. TSchoeman quickly got by Luis to third.  

As he started the third loop, Alistair decided it was time to make his move. He pulled away from Jonny and never looked back, literally walking the final few hundred meters to make the race look closer than it was and become the first man to win two gold medals and the first to defend an Olympic title. Jonny took the silver, while Shoeman gamely hung on to the bronze medal position through the rest of the run. Murray made a huge push over the final lap to finish a close fourth.