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Time to lead

JONNY BROWNLEE wants 2017 to be the year he is remembered for his title-winning exertions, rather than his ‘wobbly horse’ routine.

The Rio triathlon silver medallist aims to emerge from the shadow of his brother Alistair, back-to-back Olympic champion and often the only man standing in the way of Jonny and world domination.

It has long been speculated the pair may go their separate ways before the Tokyo Games in 2020, with a conversion to marathon for 28-year-old Alistair a possibility.

But for Jonny — whose name conjures up images of staggering over the finish line in Cozumel, Mexico, last year post-Rio — it could be his turn to take the spotlight in 2017.

Jonny had to be helped over the line by his older brother in a dramatic finale to the World Triathlon Series as the heat took its toll while he was leading.

He told Metro: ‘This is a big year but the best way to describe it is as a little more relaxed than 2016. Everything’s not all on one day like the Olympics.

‘I want to become world champion and do Leeds [the British leg of the World Series returns to the Brownlees’ home town in June].

‘I won’t be going back to Mexico for a while, though, I hope!

‘We’ll maybe be less restricted than last year — I had a plan for where I’d be every day. I plan to spend more time in Leeds this time. For me personally, I’d definitely do triathlon for the next four years, as long as my body holds up.’

The Brownlees are reluctant to step away from a training regime that has served them so well over the years.

Four Olympic medals between them from two Games bears out their thinking. But Alistair has already said he wants to try half-Ironman events. For Jonny, though, the ambition of becoming world champion again remains a huge motivation.

‘As far as Al doing every World Series event, I’m not sure but as far as training goes, nothing’s changed,’ said the 26-year-old.

‘We still enjoy training together. We might do a few things differently but we’re not very good planners anyway. In the last three years, the injuries I’ve had have taught me the pitfalls of planning too far ahead.’

The brothers will compete for the first time this year in the lucrative Super League Triathlon on Hamilton Island, Australia, next month and Jonny is excited by the decision to keep the British leg of the World Series in their beloved Leeds after its debut last summer.

‘Of course I’ll do the Leeds World Series,’ he added. ‘From an elite point of view it was an incredibly successful event in Leeds. I was proud as I crossed the finish line.

‘To have crowds three or four deep all the way round was incredible. I keep telling people it’s a sporting city and competitors were telling me they couldn’t wait to come back.’

The Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds returns to the city on June 10-11. Join the world’s best and sign up today —