It was only right that the man who won gold in Hyde Park three years ago should triumph today at the venue’s last staging before the move to Leeds in 2016. However it wasn’t a repeat result for Olympic bronze medallist Jonny Brownlee, who suffered a mechanical straight out of T1.
The 750m swim started well for the two Brownlees, following in on the feet of swim specialists Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Richard Varga (SVK), who set the pace and hauled the two brothers into T2 in fifth and sixth.
But on leading out of transition, shouts went up to Jonny Brownlee that he had a rear puncture. As he pulled off to the mechanics’ stand just out of T1, older brother Alistair shot through to take his place within the chase pack of 17 and pulled ahead of the second group, which contained his biggest rivals for today’s crown, last year’s one-two Mario Mola (ESP) and Richard Murray (RSA). (Reigning series leader Javier Gomez sitting out of London.)
The rest of the four-lap 20km bike lap was simply a case of head down, power on for the two Brownlees; Alistair to extend his lead, Jonny to reduce it. The gap after three laps was 1:28mins from front pack to Jonny’s crew of five.
Out of T2, Ali Brownlee took to the front for the 5km run, alongside NZ’s Tony Dodds, France’s Vincent Luis, Australia’s Bailie and Alarza of Spain.
The chase group entered T2 40secs down, but Mola had a shocking T2, struggling to get his run shoes on. As he set off, Jonny Brownlee could be seen just entering transition.
2km in and Alistair made his move, pulling out a 5sec lead ahead of Luis and Spain’s Fernando Alarza.
After the second of two laps, Murray was less than 40secs down, Mola 49secs.
So confident was Alistair that he soaked up the crowd several metres from the finish line, crossing the line with a smile bigger than we saw at the Olympics, Yorkshire flag in hand.
Alarza ran in for second, Luis second, Murray fifth, Mola in 14th. Jonny Brownlee came in 42nd.