Brownlee brothers go for gold
Leeds brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee will battle it out this weekend for the triathlon world title in London.
Leaving the Olympics in the past is not an option for Alistair Brownlee this weekend as he returns to Hyde Park to try to win another global title.
The 25-year-old cemented his dominance of the sport with victory in London 13 months ago and finds himself in pole position to be crowned world champion for a third time despite a niggling ankle injury.
The world title is decided over a series of races throughout the year, with this weekend's Grand Final the most prestigious event and worth the most points.
The standings are close, with the three Olympic medallists again the men in contention as Alistair heads brother Jonny while Spain's Javier Gomez sits in third.
Victories for either Alistair or reigning world champion Jonny would give them the title, while Alistair can afford to finish second to Gomez and still win.
Alistair has won three times in Hyde Park, but he admits in some ways he would rather not have returned.
He said: "It's a bit like everything with the Olympics, you build up to it over a period of years and then it comes and it happens and you're not really sure how to react to it in the aftermath. When you wake up the morning afterwards, what do you go and do next?
"Coming back to this Olympic course is a bit like that. I never even thought when I was training for it last year that I'd be coming back and doing another race here.
"It is a bit strange. It would have been quite nice to draw a line under it last year and move on."
It is certainly not unusual for Olympic champions to struggle in the aftermath of achieving the biggest thing in their sport.
But, strange though things may have been post-London, the competitive fire inside Alistair burns just as strongly.
"I've achieved more than I ever set out to achieve or ever dreamed I would when I was an eight-year-old starting triathlon," he said.
"That's fantastic but it hasn't altered my motivation at all.
It's just made me a bit more content. But as soon as I start training or stick me on a start line, I'm still the most competitive person in the world."
Alistair is no stranger to injuries - an Achilles problem almost derailed his Olympic dream - and this year has been no different.
An ankle injury has been a persistent problem and has taken the edge away from his running, which is the leg on which he normally blows his opponents out of the water.
In the last race in Stockholm, the Yorkshireman attacked on the bike and pulled away from Gomez and his brother before holding onto his advantage to take a third win of the season.
Alistair said: "It's been a tough year. I wanted it to be a little bit more low key. In some respects it has been but in some respects it's been really hard because of everything that's gone on.
"This is my last race so I'm hoping to have one more good performance then I can have a rest and can reset a bit, get things right. I'll do what I can to win the race but you're dependent on so many other factors.
"Winning another world title would obviously be wonderfully special, and even more so because it's in London. Without a doubt it would be the most satisfying one."
Alistair's Achilles problem put him out of the reckoning for the world title last year, and Jonny took advantage to keep it in the family for the third time in four years.
The 23-year-old has also won three times this season but his only victory over his brother has come over the sprint distance rather than the Olympic distance they will be racing on Sunday.
Jonny said: "Alistair tends to beat me over Olympic distance but he's had a tough year. Hopefully he'll be fit but it's going to be hard for him. Hopefully I can beat him."