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“I’m world champion, but I want to be Olympic champion, too, like Mr Done-It-All over there” “It’s something very different – different distances and a different kind of race,” he explains. “I just fancied a change of focus and a different goal for this early part of the season. I’ve never done a race that distance before, though, so I’ll just see how it goes.” While Alistair is used to the standard 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run of an Olympic distance triathlon, the Abu Dhabi race includes a longer 100km bike section. It’s also a non-drafting race, meaning riders aren’t allowed to stay in the slipstream of another cyclist and benefit from the reduced air pressure in their wake – thus making it more like an individual time trial. “It’s a big change, but I’ve spent years doing the International Triathlon Union circuit, so I’m looking forward to a new challenge,” says Alistair, who is also still planning to compete in the 2013 ITU World Series, which gets under way next month. The series will see the brothers go head to head for the honour of being crowned world champion at the grand final, held in London’s Hyde Park this September. But Alistair admits that his motivation for the slog of another season was initially lacking: “Just after the Olympics last year, I wasn’t as motivated for it,” he says. “But now I want to do as well as I can. I’m that kind of person – whatever I do I want to do the best I can at it. I’m massively competitive, so I can always get the best out of myself in competition because I never want to be beaten.” “Not at anything” adds Jonathan. “Monopoly, badminton... javelin.”

FINDING YOUR LIMIT Anyone who watched the one-off Christmas special edition of Superstars that featured the Brownlees, among other Olympians, will recall how Alistair’s attempts at the javelin proved even Olympic champions have their limits. “His is the first javelin I’ve ever see do a full 360,” laughs Jonathan. “I thought it was impossible. “I’ve never had so much fun in my life as I did doing that programme. But I did learn that we’re not very good at lots of things. It challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged before. Some people couldn’t understand why we can’t do dips and things, but I’d never done a dip in my life before that. Our training is about going outside, riding our bikes and running – not doing gym. It’s no use to us and I don’t enjoy it.” One of the most competitive events in the programme was an 800m race, in which the Brownlees were light years ahead of the rest. They were locked shoulder-to-shoulder until the home straight, where Alistair kicked hard for the finish line – his victory was a narrow one, but the race whetted appetites for the possibility of seeing them compete on the track in future. “I’d love to do a 10km,” admits Alistair, who says the Commonwealth Games in 2014 could even be a possibility – if he can qualify. “That’s the difficult bit, so we’ll see.” Jonathan has no interest in moving away from triathlon yet. “I’ve not achieved what I want to in the sport,” he says. “I’m world champion, but I want to be Olympic champion, too. So I don’t feel like I need a change yet. Ask me in a few years, when I’m like Mr Done-It-All over there...” Alistair raises his eyebrows and a offers a small grin in recognition of his brother’s backhanded compliment. They may no longer share a house – with Jonathan having moved to one about 500m away just after the Olympics – but they remain a fearsome partnership. The best battles of 2013, though, are likely to be those that are fought between themselves. Perhaps separate houses was a good idea... Sarah Shephard @sarahsportmag Alistair and Jon Brownlee were talking at the launch of their new sponsorship agreement with wet suit company Huub. For more details, go to www.huubdesign.com

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Sport magazine - issue 295  
Sport magazine - issue 295  

Sport magazine - issue 295

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