The London's women's race on Saturday featured a longshot runner-up and a happy turning of the tables by Britain's beloved perennial second place finisher Helen Jenkins, who left recent conquerors Paula Findlay and Emma Moffatt in her dust. But Sunday's men's race went to the absolute odds-on favorite, Alistair Brownlee.
No surprises there. The elder Brownlee took off in a bike breakaway with New Zealand's James Elvery, Russia's Alexandr Brukhankov and Spain's 2002 World Champion Ivan Rana and carved out a 75-second lead over brother Jonathan Brownlee and an all-star field. Many contenders fell on rain slick roads, others with glittering resumes fell off the back, and when the run in torrential rain was over, Alistair Brownlee won his home country Olympic preview race by 25 seconds over Brukhankov - while brother Jonathan recorded the race-best 29:35 10k run to take third.
Unlike Saturday's great Olympic qualifying success with Gwen Jorgensen taking 2nd and Sarah Groff taking 7th to earn London 2012 slots, American men had plenty of luck - all bad. Manuel Huerta exceeded expectations by placing top American -- albeit in 25th place. Matt Chrabot took 42nd and US favorites Jarrod Shoemaker (crashed on the bike) and Hunter Kemper (a very off day) both DNF'd. While discouraging, American heroes can take some solace in the All-Star roster of international triathletes who also went bust, including -- Ivan Rana (21st), Simon Whitfield (23rd), Brendan Sexton (31st), Frederic Belaubre (39th), Kris Gemmell (40th), Stuart Hayes (46th), Tim Don (51st), and Chris McCormack (DNF).
All photographs © Timothy Carlson
Torrential rains hit the race at the end of the bike and soaked the runners until the rains took mercy at the finish line.
Men's swim start.
Javier Gomez of Spain had the fastest swim (18:06), but dropped to 4th at the finish.
Jonathan Brownlee emerged from the swim ahead of Laurent Vidal. He was just 1 second slower than brother Alistair's swim, but younger brother got caught in traffic and missed the breakaway and had to settle for third place.
Chris McCormack's Olympic dreams took a hit when he finished the swim next to last in 19:25 and dropped out before finishing the bike.
Bike pack heads toward the Wellington Arch in Hyde Park.
Alistair Brownlee smiles while he works up a 75-second breakaway.
Matt Chrabot leads a chase pack around a sharp corner in Hyde Park.
Brownlee, Elvery, Bryukhankov and Rana (sounds like a law firm) enter T2 in a downpour with 75 seconds in hand over the field. Only Brownlee and Brukhankov
converted the daring move into podium finishes.
France's David Hauss, Germany's Maik Petzold and Spain's Javier Gomez tear out of T2 in hot pursuit of Brownlee.
Gomez, leads Brad Kahlefeldt, Martin Van Barneveld, Laurent Vidal and Aaron Royle taking off on the run.
Australia's Brendan Sexton ran 31:13 and finished 31st.
Tim Don (51st) and Hunter Kemper (DNF) have had many much better days.
Alistair Brownlee warmed to the cheers of the home crowd in the finish chute.
Brother Jonathan Brownlee missed the breakaway, but closed fast to take 3rd.
Germany's Stefan Justus and France's Laurent Vidal finished 5th and 6th and celebrated as they both qualified for the 2012 Olympics.
Switzerland's Sven Riederer earned another chance to improve on his 2004 Olympic triathlon bronze medal - his 9th place qualified him for London 2012.
Dimitry Polyansky of Russia is the face of pain as he finished 13th.
Simon Whitfield contemplates a 23rd place finish. Manuel Huerta was discouraged with his 25th-place finish, but the up and coming U.S. competitor took some satisfaction that he was just 7 seconds back of the Olympic gold and silver medalist.
Jan Frodeno smiles because his 11th place, 2nd German finish gave him a place on Germany's 2012 Olympic team. Girlfriend asnd fellow 2008 Olympic gold medalist Emma Snowsill finished six places better, but stricter Australian Olympic qualifying standards leave her still looking.