Brownlee brothers go head to head in Abu Dhabi

Alistair Brownlee races in Abu Dhabi in 2013. Credit and copyright: Ryan Bowd

Alistair Brownlee races in Abu Dhabi in 2013. Credit and copyright: Ryan Bowd

Reigning Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee and brother Jonathan, the 2012 World Champion, are among the superstars taking part in the 2014 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.

The British brothers are both confirmed to open their seasons in the Emirate on 15 March, at an event that has become a ‘must’ for the sport’s top stars and a huge tourist draw for Abu Dhabi.

Now entering its fifth year, the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon is organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, and offers participants the opportunity to compete in long, short or sprint distance routes while taking in the breathtaking scenery of the UAE capital.

Frederik Van Lierde’s win in the long distance wave at this year’s event set him up for a tremendous season, culminating in his victory at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, while Melissa Hauschildt scooped the title in the women’s discipline.

Battling brothers

The Brownlee brothers will go head to head, with 2012 ITU World Champion Jonathan hoping to clinch the title from the event’s current reigning champion Alistair.

Jonathan said: “Having watched Alistair’s victory in last year’s event, I knew this was a race that I wanted to do. Alistair said the event was something I couldn’t miss out on, especially with the idyllic conditions and iconic course the event offers us. It will be a step up in distance for me, which is a challenge, and I think I can adapt to it very well.”

Alistair is looking for a strong start to the year following a tough injury-ridden season, which saw him bow out of the ITU World Championships.

He said: “I loved the experience of competing here last year. It was my first time at the longer distance, and I was nervous going into the event. The city offers so much to a Triathlon that it is an event that should be on everybody’s list of ‘must do’s’. It didn’t take much convincing to get Jonny to come out with me this year. Obviously I was disappointed with the end of my season, and I couldn’t think of a better way to start 2014 than retaining my title in Abu Dhabi.”

A record number of entries and participants are set to take part in next year’s event, which starts in the shimmering turquoise waters off Abu Dhabi’s Blue Flagged public beach, before weaving its way along the Corniche to the spectacular Yas Island and around the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, before returning to the heart of the UAE capital.