IF Yorkshire is the home of cycling, then Leeds is the triathlon capital of the world as the sport’s biggest names look to put down a marker prior to the Rio Olympics.
The first time that the British leg of the ITU World Triathlon Series has been held outside London, live television coverage in more than 20 countries will bring international attention to Leeds and, hopefully, show the investment opportunities that exist in a proud and resurgent city.
Of course, Leeds would not be hosting a sporting event of this magnitude if it wasn’t for the incomparable Alistair and Jonny Brownlee. Brothers, role models and Yorkshire ambassadors like no other, it is their exploits which mean they get the chance to compete in their own back yard, while it is their dedication, and friendly rivalry, which has led to so many of the UK’s top triathletes choosing to base themselves in Leeds.
As the Brownlees are the first to admit, their success wouldn’t be possible without world-class sports and training facilities while the city council deserves praise for going for gold and not only prizing a global event like this out of London’s grasp, but having the foresight – and vision – to stage a weekend of triathlons for youngsters and all those novices who have embraced this endurance sport. Let’s hope crowds line the streets in sufficient numbers to more than justify the local authority’s faith – and ensure that Leeds hosts this World Series event for the foreseeable future.