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Alistair Brownlee confident over Olympic triathlons despite River Seine water quality fears

Alistair Brownlee remains bullish that the Olympic triathlons will go ahead as planned in the River Seine.

Paris’ aquatic artery continues to fail water quality tests and after heavy rainfall in May, one reading for E.Coli near the triathlon start line was more than three times the required level.

No back-up plan, other than cancelling the swim leg and running a duathlon, has yet been proposed for the Paris Olympics, but two-time Olympic gold medallist Brownlee is not concerned.

“I think the risks associated with the water are very low to be honest,” said Brownlee, who is a member of the IOC’s Athlete Commission.

“There’s been a lot of work done to mitigate and clean the Seine and put various other things in place so I’m pretty confident it’s going to go ahead.”

£1.2 billion has been spent on cleaning up the Seine with President Emmanuel Macron vowing to swim in it before the Olympics begin on July 26.

The triathlon course takes in some of the French capital’s iconic sites with a technical bike leg travelling down the Champs-Elysees.

“I think it’s an amazing venue and that’s what triathlon is all about - being in a city centre to showcase the sport and the city to the fans for free,” said Brownlee.

Brownlee is excited for the triathlon at the Paris Olympics (That Cameraman/PTO)
Brownlee is excited for the triathlon at the Paris Olympics (That Cameraman/PTO)

The mixed relay on 5 August could be one of the highlights of the Games with the host nation and Team GB on a collision course.

France made the tough decision to exclude Vincent Luis, one of the best racers of recent times, from their three-man Olympic squad with GB’s final selection announced on Monday.

Alex Yee and Beth Potter have already been selected with competition fierce for the one remaining male and two remaining female spots.

Jonny Brownlee has struggled for form and fitness in the last year leaving him in a race against time to secure a spot at his fourth Olympics.

His brother admitted: “‘I think Jonny’s been unhappy with his results. He would have liked to perform a lot better but I guess he’s still in contention and we’ll see what the selectors say.

“I think we have three very good medal chances in the three triathlon events and a very good team so that’s very exciting.”

Paris’ aquatic artery continues to fail water quality tests (That Cameraman/PTO)
Paris’ aquatic artery continues to fail water quality tests (That Cameraman/PTO)

These days Brownlee plies his trade on the inaugural T100 World Tour, which sees 20 of the world’s best professional triathletes battle over a season of 8 breakneck 100km races in iconic locations around the globe.

With equal prize money for men and women, $3M has been doled out in athlete contracts with a huge end-of-season payout total of $2M shared between all 20 athletes.

“It’s fantastic that prize money is coming into a sport like long-distance triathlon,” said Brownlee, who will race at the third stage of the World Tour in San Francisco this weekend.

‘‘In long-distance triathlon especially, athletes can train full time and get rewarded for that.

“What a lot of people don’t see is that it really goes to being able to afford to train and support yourself. Everything you pay for yourself effectively, medical bills, training so there’s a big cost there and to have stuff paid for is really cool.

Watch the world’s best triathletes compete in San Francisco T100 live on Saturday 8 June from 1345 UK on PTO+ or on Eurosport 1 from 10pm CEST. For more information go to https://t100triathlon.com/san-francisco/pro/