LONDON (Reuters) - Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee had little sympathy after younger brother Jonathan was pipped for the world title by Spaniard Javier Gomez on Sunday, describing his sibling as a “tactical numptie” who threw the title away.
Gomez outsprinted the defending champion in a great race in rain-lashed London to secure his third world title but Brownlee senior, whose own hopes of a third world crown were derailed by an ankle injury, could hardly bear to watch the denouement.
Each time 30-year-old Gomez and Jonathan Brownlee passed Alistair, the senior brother pointed to his head to impart a “think” message to the 23-year-old, who admitted after the race that he had a tendency to get over-excited and go off too hard.
“I was watching Jonny and it was so frustrating, all he had to do was sit behind Javier until the last 50 meters and he was going to win,” 25-year-old Alistair said after the experienced Spaniard had spent most of the 10km final leg tucked in behind the home favorite.
“When I saw him make his move with about 250 meters to go I thought ‘oh no, what an idiot.’
“I was telling him to use his head. I guarantee he would have won if he’d sat back and waited for the last 50.
“I will be giving him a lot of stick for that. He’s thrown a world title away today by being a complete tactical ‘numptie’”.
The agonizing defeat completed a miserable day for the Brownlee family who, 13 months ago, were celebrating after winning Olympic gold and bronze on the same course.
The ankle injury that has dogged Alistair all season ended his hopes on Sunday, despite him leading coming off the 40km bike leg held in awful conditions.
“It’s been really sore for three months but it could have gone either way today,” he said.
“When I came off the bike it was so cold it just wasn’t working properly. When I warmed up I thought ‘ah, I’m doing alright here’ but then it went again and I’m just glad it’s all over now.
“I’d planned to pull out if it was bad and I told the physio to yell at me to tell me to if I was looking bad but when it came to it I just couldn’t do it.
“I’ve never pulled out of a race in my life and I wasn’t going to start now.
“To be honest this whole year has been an absolute nightmare.”
The brothers will both now take some time off to recover from another tough season - by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Editing by Justin Palmer