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Brownlee brothers set to light up Rio

Triathletes Alistair (L) and Jonny Brownlee wave during a parade of British Olympic and Paralympic athletes through London September 10, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Triathletes Alistair (L) and Jonny Brownlee wave during a parade of British Olympic and Paralympic athletes through London September 10, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall

By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Triathlon at the picturesque Copacabana could boil down to yet another sibling rivalry with Jonny Brownlee sensing an opportunity to upstage elder brother and Olympic champion Alistair in the men's event at next month's Rio Games.

Spectators are expected to swarm to the venue of triathlon, which made its Games debut at Sydney in 2000, at Rio's iconic Copacabana beach, with the cycle section around the hills of dos Cabritos and do Cantalgo, concluding with laps by the shoreline.

Spain's Javier Gomez, the only triathlete to win five world titles, had split the 'Brownlee Brothers' on the podium at the London Olympics in 2012.

In that race four years back, the 28-year-old Alistair ground down Gomez and his brother Jonny, who was hurt by a 15-second time penalty for mounting his bike too early in the transition, on the 10-kilometre run to surge away to a win.

Two years later Jonny again finished behind Alistair, this time second, at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The stage will be set once again for them to strive for glory at Rio with Gomez pulling out of the Games after fracturing his left arm in a bicycle accident.

Both brothers have been hampered by injuries in the past year with Alistair undergoing a surgery on his Achilles tendon.

Alistair, however, showed he has recovered enough to defend his title in Rio with an emphatic win in a world series race in Leeds last month.

Jonny, who also suffered a stress fracture in his left femur earlier this year, finished 32 seconds behind him and will be hoping to turn the tables on his elder brother in Rio.

"The way Alistair's training at the moment, if I beat him then I think it should be gold," Jonny said.

"Four years down the line I'm a bit stronger, fitter, cleverer. But we very much go into these races as if it's us two against the rest of the world.

"When we get to the hard bit of the run then we start racing against each other."

American world champion Gwen Jorgensen will be the hot favourite to win the women's race having clinched her second consecutive world title in 2015 and won 12 successive World Series events over 2014-15.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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