CGames: Brownlee brothers bet on sibling rivalry for medal push

The Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan, are betting on an intense sibling rivalry in their drive for a top-of-the-podium finish in the triathlon at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

The Leeds-based siblings, their own harshest critics who often work together in races, are the hot favourites over the Olympic distance course that begins with a 1.5km swim over two laps of Strathclyde Loch before a 40km cycle and a 10km run.

Alistair Brownlee will be out to add Commonwealth gold to his Olympic gold won in London in 2012, with triumphs in the World Triathlon Series in 2011 and 2013 sandwiching that victory.

Brownlee senior warmed up for the Glasgow Games with victory in the Triathlon World Series event in Hamburg earlier this month, winning ahead of France's Vincent Luis and Jonny Brownlee, in third.

"This season has been about the Commonwealth Games for me, so I'm happy that I'm fit now," Alistair Brownlee said after his win in Germany following an injury-disrupted season in which he also managed to claim the European title.

"It's a tough course," Brownlee told British media of the Strathclyde Triathlon Course southeast of Glasgow.

"There's nothing particularly hard on it but nothing easy either. It'll be a really tough, honest race I think. That's the kind of race I like to do so I'm looking forward to it.

"I can't complain about my shape at all. I've done some of the best training I've done in a long time so I'm really happy about it and everything's gone as well as I could have hoped."

Fresh from high-altitude training in St Moritz, Brownlee said the siblings' joint podium showing under pressure at the London Olympics could hold them in good stead for action in Scotland.

"It's not unfamiliar, London was very good practice for that," he said. "I don't think I'm ever going to experience pressure like that again so after that everything feels easier.

"We will go into it as favourites and I quite like that position."

Triathlon is returning to the Commonwealth Games programme for the first time since Melbourne 2006, having made its debut at Manchester 2002 when Canadian duo Carol Montgomery and Simon Whitfield won women's and men's gold.

While the men's event is headlined as a battle of the Brownlees, the women's individual race promises to have several contenders vying for gold.

New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt claimed bronze the last time the triathlon took place at the Games and she also holds a silver from the 2011 World Triathlon Series and bronzes from the 2009 and 2012 editions.

She will likely be up against England's Jodie Stimpson, a silver medal winner in the World Triathlon Series in 2013.

Saturday sees the triathletes back in action, albeit in the sprint distance mixed team relay, an event that makes its Games debut.

Teams featuring two men and two women will each swim one 250m lap of the loch before embarking on a 6km cycle and a 1.6km run.