FOUR YEARS of blood, sweat and gears has established Alistair Brownlee as one of Team GB’s overwhelming London 2012 gold-medal favourites.
However, the Dewsbury-born triathlon ace has admitted in the build up to the biggest race of his life that the result is nothing more than a lottery – and not because of his recent injury history.
Brownlee – whose brother Jonathan is also a favourite to medal – missed his first three competitive races of 2012 due to an Achilles tear.
However it is not that setback that leaves Alistair in the dark, rather it is the nature of a sport in which the pre-race plan is as liable to hiccups as it is straightforward.
The plan for the August 7 race is aggressively simple, and therein lies the problem.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve taken triathlon to a new level, I would just say I’ve introduced a new way of racing,” he said.
“Before I started racing, a lot of people were scared of racing through the whole two hours of the triathlon and there was a bit of belief in that you couldn’t bike hard and then run hard.
“But for some reason, that never really occurred to me and thought I was just better off going for it.
“For me, it’s all about risk management and what gives me the best chance of winning the race and winning the medal in the race.
“That’s all it’s about. I know if you come into the run with a pack of 50 people, you’re probably less likely to win a medal than you are if you come in with a pack of five people – it’s simple statistics.
“It was always my belief, I just didn’t have the ability until that year and I was strong enough after Beijing.
“It’s a very difficult attitude to balance because it’s good being fearless and it’s good having the ability to take risks because the risks pay off, but also, it’s about being calculated as well, because you don’t want to take those risks without the calculations as well because that just damages your racing.”
Amidst the risk-reward calculations Alistair also has to balance another, sizeable, factor – his kid brother.
While Alistair, 24, was suffering the disappointment of finishing 12th at the 2008 Games in China, Jonathan, 22, was having his resolve strengthened that he could join him in London.