Can anyone catch up to Alistair Brownlee in Sunday's Triathlon Grand Final? Maybe his younger brother, Jonathan, but on home soil—and the site of his famous Olympic victory—the elder of the Brownlee brothers looks set to emerge victorious.
Although Alistair was sidelined with an ankle injury for the early part of the season, he announced himself in April by winning the San Diego Triathlon, finishing 20 seconds ahead of nearest competitor Richard Murray.
From there he continued to stamp his authority, winning every Olympic-distance triathlon except Hamburg, where he lost out to his younger brother.
Outside of the Brownlee family, it's likely to be Javier Gomez of Spain who tries to halt Alistair's march onwards. Gomez took silver in the Olympics and won on this course in the 2010 World Triathlon Series event. He will need to take advantage of any weakness Brownlee offers.
Given the nature of Alistair's nagging ankle injury, his weakness will likely occur over the running section of the course. Brownlee is a better runner than Gomez, but he has favoured his ankle a lot over the season and should look to establish a lead on the bike first, just to be certain.
When he spoke to the Press Association via The Guardian, Brownlee was more cautious in his prediction for the race:
It's been a tough year. I wanted it to be a little bit more low key. In some respects it has been but in some respects it's been really hard because of everything that's gone on.
This is my last race so I'm hoping to have one more good performance then I can have a rest and can reset a bit, get things right. I'll do what I can to win the race but you're dependent on so many other factors.
Those "other factors" doubtlessly include his brother and Gomez, but Jonathan has found it difficult to chase Alistair down over Olympic distances before, and Gomez will need a fantastic ride to have a chance of beating either Brownlee as they approach Hyde Park.
Look for Alistair to push himself on the bike to get a lead. He's previously spoken of his discomfort with the swim, and if his ankle is bothering him at all, there will be a marked decrease in his split over that section.
Nevertheless, there will be a home crowd cheering him on, and the sheer fact that there's a world title in the balance should be enough to see him home.
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