Abu Dhabi: Great Britain’s gold medal-winning Olympic triathlete Alistair Brownlee will enter the 2013 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, which holds one of the sport’s richest purses, as he looks to expand his competitive horizons.
Speaking on a trip to the United Arab Emirates’ capital, 24-year-old Brownlee, the back-to-back European Triathlon Union champion, confirmed he will start his 2013 season in the 111.5km Abu Dhabi short course — which comprises a 1.5km swim, 100km bike and 10km run — in March.
“I’ll be in the UK through the winter, where it will be freezing, so coming to Abu Dhabi will be a 30 degree temperature shift, and that is a big factor. I’ll need to change my training to suit that. I’ll be doing some sessions in a heat chamber and I’ll try to get away before the event to help acclimatise. I’ll also be setting up my bike differently to deal with the length as that has a major role to play in my success,” said Alistair, whose brother Jonathan took triathlon bronze at London 2012.
“I’m used to biking 40kms so going up to 100kms for Abu Dhabi will be a challenge and it is one I am looking forward to, especially as it goes around the grand prix track at Yas Marina Circuit. I want to start expanding my competitions to include other distances and starting next season in Abu Dhabi is part of that.”
Brownlee, who has taken a break from training after his London 2012 triumph and enjoyed two days in Abu Dhabi, is relishing the chance to spend some more time in the UAE capital next year.
“It seems like ages since I won the gold medal in August — it took me a while to get over that but now I am ready to move on and get on with it. The biggest thing I am looking forward to in Abu Dhabi is the challenge of it. I’ve spent years and years doing the ITU circuit so the change in distance will be interesting, as will racing against different competitors and doing a non-drafting race, which is a big change,” he said.
“I’m also looking forward to taking a few days off after the race and seeing the sights, I would love to get out in the desert, as I’ve never done that so it’s on my to-do lis.”
Event organiser Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (ADTCA) is expecting a biggest-ever showing for its fourth triathlon, earmarking 2,200 competitor places — up from the 1,855 spanning 62 countries that took to the start line at the Corniche beach earlier this year.
The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon offers three course distances — the 223km long course (3km swim, 200km bike, 20km run), the half-length short course and the sprint course (750m swim, 50km bike, 5km run).
Organisers have frozen athlete registration fees for the fourth year in a row. Athletes interested in entering competing should visit www.abudhabitriathlon.com.