It was the British Brownlee brothers who dominated the ITU Dextro Energy World Championship Series race in Madrid on Saturday night New Zealand time, in doing so laying down a marker for the London 2012 Olympic Games that the rest of the world will have to rise to.
Best of the Kiwis on a hot and tough Madrid course was James Elvery in an impressive 15th place. The Aucklander emerged from the water in touch with the leaders and quickly settled into his work as the lead bunch immediately put time on the chasing packs, with fellow New Zealanders Ryan Sissons (19th), Clark Ellice (23rd), Tony Dodds (36th) all slowly but surely losing time on the leaders during the 40km ride while Martin Van Barneveld was an early withdrawal.
Kris Gemmell didn't recover after losing almost a minute during the swim with both he and Sissons caught up in what looked more like a heavyweight title fight with a couple of dozen contenders in the ring together at the first buoy, and despite working hard on the bike and climbing into the top twenty at one point the 31 year old finished well back with no news immediately available as to his condition or final placing (the ITU results at this time do not have an official finish time or place for Gemmell).
Sissons and Ellice however made up plenty of time on the run, 22 year old Sissons improving from 35th off the bike to climb into the top 20 with a 31:19 split and maintain his strong start to the season while Ellice also ran home well in 31:25 to finish 23rd after exiting the bike in 57th place.
The British siblings were simply supreme though, running away from former World Champion Javier Gomez (ESP) on his home soil and Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) with Alistair eventually out-sprinting his younger brother in a result that will have athletes already casting a wary eye towards the Olympics in London next year. It is a third consecutive win for Alistair Brownlee in Madrid and 8th title overall, confirming his status as the clear number one in the sport.
Alistair Brownlee ran 30:08 for the ten kilometres but would surely have broken the magical 30 minute barrier in the sport, had he not slowed before the finish line to set up a photo opportunity with his brother that will surely be plastered all over British papers in the days ahead.
So while Gemmell struggled to transfer his good form in America to Europe, the good news for New Zealand is the continued emergence of young Ryan Sissons (12th on world rankings post Madrid) and the solid points scoring efforts of James Elvery and Clark Ellice, both of whom will have improved their rankings and boosted their hopes of gaining a start at the London event in August that will double as an Olympic qualifying race.
ITU Dextro Energy Triathlon World Champs Series, Madrid
1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run
1 Alistair Brownlee GBR 01:51:06
2 Jonathan Brownlee GBR 01:51:09
3 Javier Gomez ESP 01:51:51
4 Alexander Brukhankov RUS 01:52:02
5 Dmitry Polyansky RUS 01:52:30
15 James Elvery NZL 01:53:44
19 Ryan Sissons NZL 01:53:50
23 Clark Ellice NZL 01:54:00
36 Tony Dodds NZL 01:54:48
TBC Kris Gemmell NZL
DNF Martin Van Barneveld NZL
Full race details and timing splits available at www.triathlon.org