Hot on the heels of the news that pre-race favourite Gustav Iden had been ruled out earlier on Friday, Brownlee himself announced that he too would not be racing.
Brownlee’s withdrawal is the latest in a long line which have decimated the men’s field ahead of Saturday’s start in Utah at 0615 local time.
He revealed the sad news in an Instagram Story on Friday evening UK time, early afternoon in St George.
His message read: “Absolutely gutted to say I’ve decided not to start tomorrow. I feel really rough today with a sickness I think has been in my system.
“Thanks to everyone who’s helped me get here. We’ve worked so hard over the last few months. Very best of luck to everyone on the start line.
“Need to make sure I’m 100% for 4 weeks time.”
That date for Alistair in four weeks’ time of course is the much-hyped Sub7 bid vs Norwegian star Kristian Blummenfelt in Germany.
Alistair sick at Oceanside
Brownlee had revealed earlier this week that he had been sick in the build-up to his long-awaited comeback at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside in California last month.
Alistair was dominant for most of the day before appearing to blow up in the closing stages to be passed by Jackson Laundry, Lionel Sanders and Rudy Von Berg.
Brownlee admitted this week that the illness was likely still with him on race day, and said he was ready to roll in Utah. But sadly that will not now happen and this eagerly-awaited race has suffered another major loss before it even gets under way.
Reacting to the news, Ironman legend Tim Don feels the absence of Brownlee – and Iden – will change the whole shape of the race.
He told us: “Absolutely gutted for the fella. I think it’s going to have a big impact on Sub7 too as he needs race experience over the Ironman distance.
“It’s such an open race tomorrow now – there’s not as much firepower at the front of the bike so I do believe it changes the dynamics with both Gustav and Alistair not racing.
“Some of those biker boys are really going to bike through and shine in the tough conditions.”