World title and Olympics in Brownlees’ sights

Alistair, left, and Jonny Brownlee with the SEAT car they 'raced' against during winter training. Picture: PA

Alistair, left, and Jonny Brownlee with the SEAT car they 'raced' against during winter training. Picture: PA

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ALISTAIR Brownlee has set his sights on winning a third world title as he looks to stamp his authority on triathlon ahead of the Rio Olympics.

The 26-year-old finished 2014 as European and Commonwealth champion and also won the World Series Grand Final but the overall title once again eluded him. Although Brownlee remains undoubtedly the best triathlete in the world on his day, since his second title in 2011 injuries have prevented him attaining the consistency required to be crowned world champion, with the title decided over a series of races.

Younger brother Jonny took over in 2012 but the last two years have seen both Brownlees having to play second fiddle to Spain’s Javier Gomez.

The now four-times world champion split the brothers at the 2012 Olympics in London and looks set to be their main rival again when Alistair defends his title in Brazil next year.

The world series is bigger than ever in 2015, with ten races, starting in early March in Abu Dhabi and finishing with the Grand Final in Chicago in September.

Alistair said: “It was such a shame not to be able to have a really good crack at the world series last year. That could have made it a perfect season.

“I’d really like to be able to compete for the world title this year and, hopefully, that will be the case. It’s been a long time so hopefully I can change that.

“I wouldn’t say the schedule suits me any better but it’s about saying: ‘Right, how can I use the schedule to maximise my chances of doing well?’.

“It’s not ideal racing in March in Abu Dhabi, then Auckland, Australia, going all over the world to do it. But, if that’s the series, then it’s what you’ve got to deal with.”

The good news for the brothers is they have had an injury and illness-free winter of training, splitting their time between Yorkshire and Spain.

They have even managed to fit in a race against a SEAT car and will be appearing at the Triathlon Show in London this weekend.

The 2015 season has a dual focus, with qualification spots up for grabs at the Olympics. The brothers will have a chance to compete over the Games course at the test event in Rio in August, and top-three finishes there and in Chicago would book their spots on the British team. Alistair said: “That’s definitely the most important thing for both of us.

“Qualifying for Rio first and foremost and then having a good race on that course.

“If you have a good race on that course hopefully you’ve got your preparation right and you’ve got a blueprint for what you want to do the year after.

“Copacabana’s an amazing place, a fantastic place for triathlon and the course is supposed to be good as well.”

For 24-year-old Jonny, 2015 represents another chance to close the gap to his brother and Gomez, which widened during a largely disappointing 2014.

He is optimistic this season will be better and is already thinking ahead to 2016.

“I’m feeling really good,” he said. “Training’s going well and the times seem to be quite good.

“You want 2015 to be a dry run for 2016, so you want to nail what training camps you’re going to be doing beforehand, where you’re going to spend time at altitude and how you’re going to prepare for the heat.

“That makes it feel much nearer in itself. And 12 months in sport is a very short space of time.”

• The Brownlee brothers are taking part in a Q&A at the Triathlon Show London on 14 February, driven by SEAT. For tickets visit triathlonshowlondon.co.uk

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