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Jonny Brownlee clinches world triathlon title
Olympic bronze medalist Jonny Brownlee kept it in the family as he followed in the footsteps of brother Alistair by being crowned world champion in New Zealand.
The 22-year-old Bingley Harrier headed into the World Triathlon Series Grand Final with a 180-point lead over Spanish rival Javier Gomez and needing just a podium finish to secure the overall title.
And that was what transpired on a wet day in Auckland as Olympic silver medalist Gomez got the better of Brownlee in a sprint finish.
Gomez crossed the line in 2hr 29sec, with Brownlee two seconds behind and Switzerland’s Sven Riederer another 47 seconds adrift in third.
“It was a tough day,” said Brownlee, who won races in San Diego, Madrid and Stockholm during the season.
“The bike was really hard and the first bit of the run, everyone was tired.
“The first two laps were nice and easy and then Javier attacked and it came to a sprint at the end and my tactics were shocking. I led him out into the wind and he just came past me.
“I am pleased the season’s over as it’s been a long year and I’m tired now.”
Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee had hoped to race in Auckland to support his younger brother but has been forced to rest after having his appendix removed last month, heading off to Brazil on holiday instead.
Gomez said: “I felt quite good on the run. I tried a couple of times (to break clear) but Jonathan was so strong so I stayed behind and focused on the sprint.
“With 150 metres to go I said ‘let’s just go as hard as I can and see what happens’ and I am really happy for the victory.
“I knew it was almost impossible to be world champion here. Jonathan is a well-deserved champion. He had a really good season, pretty consistent, and I did my job in this final race. It’s a good way to finish the season, so I’m quite happy.”
Britain’s David McNamee was tenth, with compatriots Aaron Harris and Mark Buckingham 28th and 29th respectively and Adam Bowden 33rd.
In the under-23 race, Britain’s Tom Bishop claimed his second consecutive bronze medal but last year’s champion Matt Sharp missed out on the lead group on the bike leg and had to settle for sixth.
“The bike course is awesome and I wish more races were like that,” said Bishop of the hilly course.
“I tried my hardest to hurt the legs of the guys and take the kick out of them but I didn’t quite do it and I got third again.
“But I tried my hardest and I’m content with that. Getting a medal at a world championships is pretty good.”
Britain’s Jodie Stimpson finished fifth in the women’s race after being among an 11-strong group which looked set to contest a sprint finish until Germany’s Anne Haug pulled clear on the final lap of the run.
Haug finished 12 seconds ahead of American Gwen Jorgensen, with Barbara Riveros Diaz of Chile third.
Sweden’s Lisa Norden was fourth to claim the overall world title, with Stimpson given the same time as the Olympic silver medalist in fifth.