Helen Jenkins and Alistair Brownlee both headed to Beijing for the 2011 Grand Final at the top of the World Triathlon Series rankings.
It was a strong start for the British women as Kerry Lang, Liz Blatchford and Helen Jenkins were the first three women out of the water, with Vicky Holland not much further back as 17 athletes all came out of the water 10 seconds apart.
Jenkins went into the race knowing that a podium finish would be enough to secure her second title, having previously won in 2008.
As they headed out onto the 40km bike course, a lead group of 13, including Jenkins, Lang, and Blatchford, powered around the course which had hosted the 2008 Olympic triathlon.
This group all arrived in T2 within five seconds of each other and two minutes ahead of the chasers, knowing that the podium positions would be decided over the next 10km.
It was Andrea Hewitt (NZL) who strode ahead of the rest to open up a gap, crossing the line 13 seconds ahead of second place. Jenkins too made the move to pull clear of the group and secured the world title with a second placed finish at the Grand Final.
In the men’s race, it was the Brownlee brothers who pushed the pace in the swim to lead the field out of the water and into T1.
As they completed six laps of the bike course, both Alistair and Jonathan maintained their position at the front with a top-two finish for Alistair, enough for him to win the series.
The hilly, four-lap run course would determine who would top the race and series podiums as 39 athletes moved through T2 together.
Throughout the run, Alistair looked strong and once ahead of the pack, there was only going to be one winner of the race.
Collecting a Yorkshire flag on his way down the finishing chute, Alistair crossed the line seven seconds ahead of Sven Riederer (SUI) and ten seconds ahead of his brother Jonathan to win the race and series.
First and third in Beijing for the Brownlees was enough to secure them a one-two on the overall series podium.
The Grand Final brings together athletes from beyond the World Triathlon Series, with Paratriathletes, Junior, U23 and Age-Group athletes all competing during the event.
In the Junior Men’s race, Gordon Benson and Marc Austin represented Great Britain, finishing in 10th and 27th place respectively. Benson was part of the lead group throughout the race and held on to achieve a top-10 finish.
The race was won by America’s Lukas Verzbicas, who had returned to triathlon to try and win the World Championships for his teammate who had been diagnosed with cancer. Verzbicas was a renowned runner who had become only the fifth American high schooler to run a sub four-minute mile.
In the women’s race, Lucy Hall was Britain’s only competitor, as Mikayla Nielsen (NZL) won gold.
Despite being one of the first out of the water and among the leaders on the bike course, Hall collided with a stray dog that had made its way onto the course, resulting in a DNF from a very promising position.
Matthew Sharp, David McNamee and Tom Bishop completed a British clean sweep of the Men’s U23 podium, finishing nearly 20 seconds ahead of fourth place.
The three Brits weren’t part of the breakaway group who built their lead across the bike leg. However, holding their position as part of the chasing pack through T2 and the run, the trio caught the leaders and were soon away from the rest and across the line.
Bishop came third having made the step up from the junior category where he won silver the previous year.
Non Stanford and Lois Rosindale carried the flag for Great Britain in the women’s race in 2011.
The rain that had been falling all morning, and that continued to fall throughout the race, made the road surfaces slippery, with athletes being understandably cautious on the bike leg.
A large group arrived in T2 together, with both Stanford and Rosindale amongst them. It was Jerzyk (POL) who crossed the line first to secure the championship, with Stanford coming home 6th and Rosindale 11th for Britain.
It was also a successful trip for British paratriathletes, as they returned from the Paratriathlon World Championships in China with four gold medals.
Jane Egan (F TRI-1), Faye McClelland (F TRI-4), Charlotte Ellis (F TRI-6) and Steven Judge (M TRI-3) all won gold in Beijing.
There were also silver medals for Elizabeth McTernan (F TRI-1), Clare Cunningham (F TRI-4), Sara Butler (F TRI-6), James Smith (M TRI-3), and Haseeb Ahmad (M TRI-6).
One-twos in the Female TRI-1, Female TRI-4, Female TRI-6, and Male TRI-3 categories as part of this nine-medal-haul, showed the strength of the British squad on the international level.
The Great Britain Age-Group Team also headed to Beijing to compete in the Age-Group Sprint and Standard Distance World Championships.
A total of 254 athletes raced as part of the team across the two distances, winning nine gold, eleven silver and fourteen bronze medals between them.