Bishop maintains proud Leeds record despite 'brutal' World Triathlon Championship Series race

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Tireless Tom Bishop succeeded where others couldn’t by extending his proud record of finishing every single AJ Bell World Triathlon Championship Series in Leeds despite a chaotic men’s race
Tom Bishop finished 33rd at the World Triathlon Championship Series in Leeds despite a chaotic men’s race

Tireless Tom Bishop succeeded where others couldn’t by extending his proud record of finishing every single AJ Bell World Triathlon Championship Series in Leeds despite a chaotic men’s race, writes Josh Graham.

Fittingly, Bishop claimed 33rd ahead of Australian Aaron Royle, the only other athlete on the start line to have completed the five previous races, after heavily fancied Brits Alex Yee, last year’s winner, and Jonny Brownlee crashed out on the bike.

Derby-born Bishop was surprisingly the first Brit to be roared home at Roundhay Park in his adopted hometown of Leeds where he moved for university before training and setting up base alongside long-term partner Sian Rainsley, who finished 15th in the women’s race.

“It was brutal, really hard. It was carnage from the start, to be honest,” explained the 30-year-old.

“It would have been interesting to see how Alex [Yee] would have fared had he not been involved in the crash and Jonny [Brownlee] as they have both been doing really well.

“I just saw the guys on the ground, I heard there was an overlap of wheels and when you are riding that close you can’t really escape it. It’s just bad luck and it was gusty weather out there as well so maybe a bit of wind but I’m not really sure.

“Hopefully they recover pretty well as it's the Commonwealth Games next for those two, so let’s see what they can do.”

Bishop has his own aspirations to represent Team England at this summer’s Games in Birmingham with one spot alongside Yee and Brownlee soon to be announced and he admitted things were still up in the air after Saturday’s event.

“The third spot is at their discretion,” said Bishop.

“They might pick a relay specialist, they might pick a young up and coming athlete or they might pick me, I don’t know.

“It’s up to the selectors. British Triathlon and Triathlon England are always pretty fair at what they do, so whoever makes the team is going to be deserving.”

Eventual race winner Hayden Wilde, who Yee narrowly outsprinted to take the World Series win in Yokohama in May, sportingly took responsibility for the collision and apologised to the British duo after the race.

The New Zealander said: “It’s a bittersweet victory to be honest, there was part of that collision which was probably my fault.

“I just really want to apologise to Jonny Brownlee and Alex Yee, and my team-mate (Dylan McCullough) who I actually collided into a little bit, on the uphill there was a lot of speed going through there and we just caught that momentum and the guys went down behind me.”

British Triathlon’s director of performance Mike Cavendish confirmed a decision on whether Brownlee and Yee will be fit to compete in Sunday’s mixed relay, the first time the event has been seen at Leeds was unlikely to be made until the morning, meaning Bishop could be handed the opportunity to step in, something he would relish if it came to pass.

Bishop said: “If they are able to race, they are the best two in the team at the moment, but I’ll step up if I’m needed.

“It would be absolutely amazing, I raced the one in Nottingham in 2018 and we came second overall.

“I’m not a bad relay athlete but I’ve just not had a chance for a while, so if it happens I'll do my best.”

The AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Leeds made its return to the city for the sixth time and if you’ve been inspired to take part visit https://www.britishtriathlon.org/get-involved/what-is-triathlon

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