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Triathlon plot to stop Alistair and Jonny Brownlee
11:00am Monday 6th August 2012 in London Olympics 2012 - Latest News
Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee are being targeted in a plot among their triathlon rivals aimed at denying the British pair Olympic glory.
That was the revelation from the New Zealand camp yesterday, confirmed by veteran triathlete Kris Gemmell, who said it was a logical step for the rest of the world to target the two Bingley Harriers athletes in the Hyde Park event tomorrow.
The Brownlee brothers, from Bramhope, near Otley , would be hot gold medal favourites anywhere in the world, and with home advantage they are considered by some to be unstoppable.
Rivals have pinpointed the 43km cycling stage of the race, which follows the 1.5km swim and precedes the 10km run, as the point where they may be able to collectively contain and frustrate the home hopes.
Gemmell, 35, said: “Everyone is very aware of who the strong people are in the race, and they know as a collective unit you’re not helping one country or another but you’re helping yourself. They know that when something goes on we’re all going to have to buy in to it a little bit to help each other out, to make sure we give each other the best opportunity by also giving ourselves the best opportunity.
“I hope everyone understands that it’s not the case that there’s a massive conspiracy against the Brownlee brothers. Everybody knows that they’re good. It would be stupid for us not to give each other a little help now and then.
“I’m very friendly with other people from other nations and we’ve already talked about this.
“We know what’s going on and it’ll be something we will be able to rely on.”
As New Zealand coach Greg Fraine pointed out, the cycle leg, which demands more tactical awareness than the swim and run, is the most realistic point at which the progress of Brownlees can be stymied.
Britain have selected Stu Hayes as the third team member specifically to help chase down on the bike and spare the Brownlees a lot of the work.
Fraine said: “If I said we were going to rip the legs off them I would be lying, because they’re probably the most complete athletes in the field.
“But that’s the beauty of triathlon.
“There’s the cycle race in the middle of it and anything is possible.”
But Fraine admits the Yorkshiremen will take some stopping.
He said: “If you look at the form there’s no doubt that Alistair in particular, from what we saw in Kitzbuhel this year, looks pretty much unbeatable.”
That World Triathlon Series race in Kitzbuhel, on June 24, marked Alistair’s return to competition after an Achilles injury sustained in February.
He produced a devastating performance, finishing almost a minute clear of his nearest rival - his brother.
Fraine added: “He’s even playing with his brother so it’s a tough ask but we’ll be trying.”