It was business as usual for Alistair Brownlee on Friday as the double Olympic triathlon champion returned from injury to romp to victory at the Ironman 70.3 Dubai.
The British star, who underwent hip surgery last August, returned in style and was first over the finish line at Umm Suqeim Beach in a time of three hours, 35 minutes and 32 seconds.
The 29-year-old finished more than six minutes ahead of second-placed Swiss Sven Riederer and his compatriot Ruedi Wild who came home in third.
The Ironman 70.3, or half Ironman as it is also known, consists of a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run.
Speaking after his victory, Brownlee said: “Obviously it is so fantastic to be back after too much time spent at the gym in the past six months.
“I did not feel great on the swim, had a couple of bad patches on the bike but on the run I just felt great, I was in control and I actually really enjoyed the last 10-18km. I was just soaking it in and enjoying the cheers.”
. @AliBrownleetri takes a glorious win; Top 5 men: Brownlee 3:35:32, @MooveMee 3:43:06, @ruediwild 3:42:44, @maurice_clavel 3:43:11, @NickKastelein 3:44:22 – courtesy: Bahrain Endurance 13 #IM703Dubai pic.twitter.com/1coES5Fb0G
— IronmanLIVE.com (@IRONMANLive) February 2, 2018
Brownlee, who turns 30 in April, also recorded the fastest bike split in a time of 1:58:51.
He added: “I am so happy to back to racing and while I had some rough patches in between, it’s an amazing feeling to be here and win here,”
With Dubai being the first event of three in the “Nasser Bin Hamad Triple Crown” series, the London 2012 and Rio 2016 gold medallist is well on course to win a $1million prize purse if he also claims the two remaining events in Bahrain and South Africa later this year.
In the women’s race, Germany’s Anne Haug secured the title and beat Britain’s Sarah Lewis and 2016 Ironman 70.3 world champion Holly Lawrence to seal top spot on the podium.
Haug ran the 21.1km half-marathon leg in an impressive one hour, 14 minutes, helping her to catch up with and overtake Lawrence who was leading for a section of the race.
The 35-year-old veteran eventually came home in 4:00:25, nearly five minutes ahead of Lewis while Lawrence faded.
For Haug, who is a former short-distance specialist, it was her second victory in three Ironman 70.3 races – adding to the titles she won in Lanzarote and Bahrain last year.
It means, like Brownlee, she is well on course to win a triple crown of events if she can triumph in the remaining two races of the series.
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