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May 28, 2017

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Jonathan Brownlee wins triathlon world champs

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Britain's Jonathan Brownlee succeeded brother Alistair as triathlon world champion by finishing second in Sunday's grand final of the eight-race series.

Spain's Javier Gomez out-sprinted Brownlee in a thrilling finish to win the elite men's race by two seconds and to take second place behind the Olympic bronze medalist in the overall series standings.

Sven Riederer of Switzerland finished third in Sunday's elite men's race that took place on a hilly and demanding course, at times in torrential rain. Dmitry Polysanskiy of Russia finished seventh in the grand final to claim third place in the world championship.

Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee won last year's world championship and now sees the title pass to brother Jonathan, one year his junior.

Brownlee was already at the head of the field when the first competitors emerged from the cold waters of Auckland's Waitemata Harbour after the 1.5 kilometer swim.

He was in the chasing group when New Zealand's Kris Gemmell, who was competing in his last World Series event before retirement, sought to steal a break on the field in the 40 km cycle.

Gemmell opened up a lead of more than 1 minute as riders coped with treacherous conditions. Heavy rain left the course awash in many areas but the leading contenders avoided any mishaps to keep their winning chances alive.

The only casualty was Russia's Alexander Bryukhankov, who entered the race placed third on the overall series standings but who was forced to withdraw during the cycle leg.

Gemmell was quickly run down and Brownlee and Gomez surged away and ran most of the 10 kilometer running leg shoulder to shoulder. Gomez, who is not known as a sprinter, saved a little energy for the finish and was able to outrun Brownlee in the final sprint.

"I felt strong on the run," Gomez said. "I tried to get away a couple of times but Jonathan was so strong today and wouldn't give up.

"But the last bit I felt I had a little something left so I just stayed behind and waited. Most of the time when I'm sprinting with someone I'm dead but this time I wasn't."

Brownlee gave everything but couldn't quite snatch the grand final victory that would have crowned his world championships.

"It was really tough day," he said. "Everyone was really tired after the bike, the bike was hard.

"The first two laps of the run were nice and easy, then Javier attacked and sped up a little bit and it came down to a sprint at the end.

"My tactics were shocking. I let him hide from the wind and he just came past me. But I'm glad the season's over, it's been a long year and I'm tired now."

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