‘He’s on fire’ – Joe Skipper says Alistair Brownlee ‘back in the game’

If Joe Skipper is to be believed, anybody writing off the chances of Alistair Brownlee winning big in 2022 could yet be proved very very wrong.

Alistair of course is preparing for that eagerly-awaited 2021 IRONMAN World Championship in St George on May 7 and recently returned to action with a fourth-place finish at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside.

While some experts still wonder whether Alistair can return to the heights which brought him two Olympic gold medals in short-course racing, Skipper says the evidence he’s seen leaves zero doubt that Brownlee is back.

As the build up continues to Sub7Sub8 in early June, more insights are emerging from the secretive planning sessions – the latest overlaying Skipper’s comments on the Pho3nix Foundation’s video of a Sub7 team trial at Mallory Park.

Joe Skipper on Sub7

In a video on the Bahrain Endurance 13 Facebook page, Skipper talks about the numbers Alistair produced both on and off the bike as he prepares for that showdown with Kristian Blummenfelt in early June.

“It’s not just about going Sub7, we need to beat Kristian’s team,” said Skipper. “You could go 6:55, but if he goes 6:54 you’ve lost. And we don’t want to lose against them – we want to beat them.

“I think it’s definitely possible – when we did one of the sessions at Mallory Park, he (Alistair) was flying.

Those Brownlee numbers

“We did like 120k, he was averaging 51/52k per hour and then got off the bike, was going to run 20km, he thought 20km at 2:25 marathon pace but he felt good and he ended up doing 30k at 2:23 marathon pace – and we were like: ‘this is on, you’re on fire, you’re back in the game’.

He said: ‘I never left’.

Skipper of course has been at the centre of the back and forth between Britain and Norway ahead of what should be a spectacular summer of elite racing.

GB vs the ‘Hype Train’

He said he didn’t believe in the hype around Blummenfelt and compatriot Gustav Iden, leading the Norwegians themselves to produce that ‘Norwegian Hype Train’ video.

Expect more hyperbole and back and forth as we count down to that big weekend near Dresden in early June – the promotion is only just starting.

Jonathan Turner
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Jonathan is Editorial Director for TRI247 and RUN247. He was previously Head of Digital / Comms for pro cycling's Team Sky and now spends as much time as he can running with his local club. Swimming is not yet on the radar.