Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee made a successful return to competition at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon – even affording himself a wrong turn on the bike leg and still winning by five minutes.
The 24-year-old lived up to his pre-race favourites tag by winning gold in the men’s triathlon at the London 2012 Olympics last summer while younger brother Jonathan won bronze.
And, in his first race since London 2012 over the short distance in Abu Dhabi, Brownlee was back to winning ways as he clocked a course record time of 3:20:18hours.
Featuring a 1.5km swim and 10km run, the exact same distances to those in the Olympic triathlon, it was during the longer middle 100km bike leg where Brownlee almost lost his way.
He took a wrong turn, allowing Cesar Beilo to overtake him, however Brownlee was to win by more than five minutes ahead of the Dutchman and break the previous course record by 29 seconds.
And Brownlee, who will tackle the second race of the World Triathlon Series in San Diego next month, was satisfied despite his mistake on the bike leg in Abu Dhabi.
“The bike was a challenge. I saw a sign on the bike course and thought that was where I needed to go. It was only when I got back on the course I realised I had been there before,” said Brownlee.
"I tried to pace it quite well. I have no idea how to pace 100km on a bike, but it seemed to go OK. I felt tired towards the end but I didn't have to push too hard, which was good as it was getting hot.
"It's a bit of a shock as it is zero degrees back home and nearly 30 here, but it was early morning so I didn't struggle too much.”
© Sportsbeat 2013