Alistair Brownlee secures hat-trick of European titles
By Erin Greene on 21/06/14
Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee took his fifth victory in Kitzbuehel and claimed his third European gold medal on Saturday. Although a big lead pack of 53 athletes entered T2, after a fast transition Brownlee immediately opened up a gap over eight athletes. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) and Vicente Hernandez (ESP) were the fastest runners of this chase pack and sprinted to silver and bronze, respectively.
The weather conditions were nothing like the women’s race on Friday. The sun was out all day, warming up the Schwarzsee lake in Kitzbuehel to make these European championships a non-wetsuit swim.
The Polyanskiy brothers were the first ones to exit the water after the 1500m two-lap swim, but they were closely followed by a big pack of 25 athletes, with favorites Brownlee, Hernandez, Fernando Alarza, Joao Pereira, and Alessandro Fabian close behind.
At the halfway point of the bike course, two big groups came together to form one big lead pack of 54 athletes. Despite a few breakaway attempts, the lead group stayed together and entered T2 for a fast and nervous transition.
From there it was a one man show for Brownlee who showed he’s back at almost full strength. Matthew Sharp initially led the chase for Great Britain, with Russians Polyanskiy and Bryukhankov, along with Alarza, Hernandez, Pereira and David Mcnamee (GBR).
One after one they dropped off because of the fast running pace from Hernandez, Polyanskyi and Alarza. In the finish chute it was Polyanskyi who took a well deserved silver medal, while Hernandez took his very first major international elite medal with bronze.