British favorite Alistair Brownlee shattered pre-race warnings of plots to stop him as he stormed to victory in the triathlon yesterday, with his younger brother Jonny finishing third.
Spain’s Javier Gomez, a two-time world champion, split the British brothers as he finished second, 11 seconds off the winner, after the 1.5km swim, 43km bicycle ride and 10km run in London’s scenic Hyde Park.
The Brownlees’ rivals had formed alliances aimed at breaking their dominance, but Alistair, 24, was among the leaders from the outset and he seized gold with a blistering run around the Serpentine lake.
Alistair Brownlee clocked 1 hour, 45 minutes, 25 seconds for the race, while his brother, forced to serve a time penalty for mounting his bicycle too early, held on to third as he finished 31 seconds behind.
The elder of the Brownlees had time to grab a Union Flag and stroll across the line, before collapsing to the deck in celebration.
The Brownlees now claim Britain’s first Olympic triathlon medals, making up for the women’s race when home favorite Helen Jenkins was fifth. Gomez finally takes silver after finishing just off the podium in Beijing.
With huge crowds on the banks of the Serpentine, Slovakia’s Richard Varga got them off to a fast start in the swim as he stretched out the field, followed by Gomez and the Brownlees.
Varga, completing the 1.5km lap in 16:55, was first onto the bikes, with Gomez, the Brownlees and Italy’s Alessandro Fabian forming a breakaway group which quickly opened up a 20-second gap on the chasing pack.
Behind the leaders, the bike race lasted just seconds for Simon Whitfield, the Olympic champion in 2000, as he hit the deck in an early collision with Costa Rica’s Leonardo Chacon and withdrew.
After two passes of Buckingham Palace on the historic, seven-lap bike circuit, the front-runners had been caught and the Brownlees’ teammate Stuart Hayes led a fast lead group of about 30 riders.
The Brownlees were among the first runners through the transition from bikes to the foot race and they set off at a furious pace, followed by Gomez, on the first of four laps around the Serpentine.
Their 17-second gap after lap one extended to 27 seconds by the start of lap three and Alistair Brownlee turned on the pace to lead Gomez by five seconds heading into the final circuit.
His brother, forced to serve a 15-second penalty for mounting his bike too early, emerged still ahead of France’s Laurent Vidal.
However, there was never any doubt about the winner and Alistair Brownlee milked the applause from a packed grandstand as he crossed the finish line, sparking celebrations among the giant crowd estimated at 200,000.