Rio 2016: Defending title will top the lot for Alistair Brownlee

Alistair Brownlee wins gold in 2012.
Alistair Brownlee wins gold in 2012.
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ALISTAIR BROWNLEE says a second Olympic gold would top his victory at London 2012 and the 28-year-old is “quite confident” of achieving it.

Buoyed by recent victories in ITU World Triathlon Series races in Leeds and Stockholm, Alistair is odds-on favourite to successfully defend the Olympic gold claimed at London 2012.

Spain’s Javier Gomez – his likely main rival – will miss the race through injury, with another Spaniard, Mario Mola, rated the biggest threat to Alistair’s crown.

Back in 2012, the 24-year-old elder Brownlee brother proved untouchable in London with victory secured after battling back from injury. There are similarities four years on, and the triathele is quietly optimistic of a similar conclusion.

“I’m on a very similar build up now to what I was four years ago,” said Alistair. “There has been a lot of hard training but I am in a good position.

“I enjoy my training and I’ve just got to do what I can do – train as hard as I can and put myself on that start line in the best possible shape I can be in to race as well as I can.

“I’m quite confident and a second one would be fantastic, I think it would mean a lot more in some ways but you don’t know. You have just got to put your head down and train as hard as you can.”

The latest stage of that training has been taking place in St Moritz where the Brownlee brothers and Gordon Benson have been perfecting their plans for Rio ahead of race day on Thursday, August 18.

With Leeds-based Benson completing the Team GB men’s trio and Non Stanford and Vicky Holland also living in the city, five of the six Team GB triathletes set to race in South America live in Leeds.

Alistair reasoned: “Having been involved in it right from the start it’s part of the appeal of the whole thing but with the triathlon in Leeds, I was literally here when the first squad happened in 2005 and there was Jonny, me and a couple of uni students. That was pretty much it.

“And now I think over the four squads there’s hundreds of people training and right at the top end there are five of us going to the Olympics who train here, and three of us being Leeds lads; it’s really cool.

“I have trained with Gordon for ten years and seen him come up right from a teenager to where he is now. I’ve seen him come up as a teenager, he’s a Leeds lad, he’s fantastic and really down to earth and on a personal level I’m really happy for him.

“I’ve seen how hard he’s worked for it. He’s a very easy going kind of guy and it will be fantastic to go through the whole process of training for the Olympics and standing on that start line with him. From there right down to people doing it week in, week out in Leeds in the uni squad it’s been amazing to see.”