Brownlee delights in latest triumph
Jonny Brownlee (left)
Jonny Brownlee is not about to make himself Olympic favourite just yet but he is enjoying being the top dog after another dominant performance to win the World Triathlon Series race in Madrid.
In the absence of world champion brother Alistair, who is almost back to full fitness after an Achilles injury, the 22-year-old eased to victory in San Diego two weeks ago for his first major win over the Olympic distance at senior level.
And he was even more commanding in Spain, helping a group of nine to a big lead on the tough bike course around Casa de Campo park and then rapidly pulling away from his rivals on the 10 kilometre run.
Javier Gomez, who is likely to be the brothers' main rival at the Olympics this summer, also missed his home race through illness, giving Brownlee the chance to hone his front-running skills.
He said: "It's completely different racing without Alistair and Gomez. Especially not having Alistair here because we do everything together. But I've quite enjoyed having a bit more pressure and it not just being, 'Alistair's going to win and I'll come second if I'm lucky'.
"It's been good to have to try to take the race to people instead of having Alistair do that and then me follow. Coming first is obviously good because you want to teach yourself to win. It's a skill in itself.
"I think I have developed as an athlete without Alistair. But I'll go home and he'll probably beat me on the track on Tuesday then I'll be back to normal!"
The pattern for the race was set in the swim, when the Russian contingent pushed the pace and forced a split in the pack. The field fractured even more as the athletes set off on their bikes, with British duo Will Clarke and Stuart Hayes, who had been towards the front after the swim, missing the front group.
That quickly proved costly as the leaders pulled away, and by the time they started the 10km run they had an advantage of almost two and a half minutes.
Brownlee was never likely to be challenged by any of his fellow breakaway riders and he quickly pulled away, eventually winning by 40 seconds from Russian duo Alexander Bryukhankov and Dmitry Polyanskiy.