The British star’s role in Sunday’s proceedings went in a split second from support act to star attraction. Not a small change, and one emphasised by two-time Kona Chris McCormack – one of the driving forces behind this ground-breaking event.
After arriving at the event location near Dresden in Germany, McCormack said: “I came down with Joe Skipper who’s stepped out of the pacing duties with Alistair into, I guess, the GC position, the lead role position of the team.
Skipper must change strategy
“His main concern now is taking the team that was built for Alistair Brownlee, a team put together by Alistair, which he was a member of that pacing team.
“They’ve been training together in a specific role and his role was to really lead a lot of that longer bike section, with that team, as part of Alistair’s pacing team.
“Now he’s got to take that position of Alistair and it’s a completely different attack strategy he’s going to take.”
Not only does the strategy change with Skipper and not Brownlee taking on Olympic Champion Kristian Blummenfelt, the mindset must change as well.
Joe must now be the leader
“He’s going to be behind the eight ball, potentially, on Kristian Blummenfelt, which is not where Alistair would have been. Alistair was looking to take some time out of the swim.
“He’s moving a lot of these pacers around, he’s bringing some some local marathon runners in to pace him.
“But his main objective I think now, after speaking with him on the drive here and after him being with the team, is to really take that leadership role to get the team to buy into him as the new team leader.”