Dual Olympic champion and Sub7 aspirant Alistair Brownlee has been ruled out of the Pho3nix Sub7Sub8 Project, powered by Zwift due to a stress response in his hip that requires immediate treatment. Brownlee will be replaced by fellow Brit and PTO world number six Joe Skipper who takes his shot at making history against reigning Olympic and World Champion Kristian Blummenfelt on Sunday at the DEKRA Lausitzring in Senftenberg, Germany.
It is a cruel blow for Brownlee, who along with MANA Group CEO and Pho3nix Foundation board member Chris McCormack was part of the initial team that developed the concept of delivering the first sub-7 hour full distance triathlon in late 2019.
“We are extremely disappointed with the announcement, but when you are pushing your body to the limit like Alistair has been, it’s a fine line,” said McCormack. ‘Alistair is a true professional and will be there to support Joe, who has been preparing for Ironman Nice at the end of June, so in good shape to take on the challenge.’’
‘It’s not going to get easier with Joe’, said Blummenfelt. ‘He has a better full distance resume and a higher world ranking than Alistair. I’m looking forward to the challenge.’
“Honestly, I’m devastated, said Brownlee. ‘I was frustrated to miss St George, and now this. I’m gutted. I was so invested in the process and loved working with my team. This was the goal that stimulated me again in the sport, on par with the Olympics. I’ll do what I can to support Joe.”
Brownlee, who also missed the recent Ironman World Championships in Utah, will support Skipper by pacing him in the swim, and will also join the commentary team for the live broadcast on Sub7Sub8.com. Brownlee replaces Richard Varga on Skipper’s team, with Jonny Brownlee also dropping out to be replaced by German national marathon champion Frank Schauer. Skipper retains the support of the bike pacemaking team led by Alex Dowsett, who is fresh off riding in the Giro d’Italia.
Further updates about the Pho3nix Sub7 & Sub8 Project, Powered by Zwift will be made available in the coming week.