Alistair Brownlee admitted he 'had no expectations' ahead of the PTO Canadian Open, but that he remained dedicated to winning 'the world's biggest races'.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist was a late and unexpected addition to the men's field ahead of Sunday's race.
He has struggled for momentum this year after illness forced him out of the Ironman World Championship in May
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But Brownlee will now race alongside a stellar field with reigning Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfelt, Gustav Iden, and home favourite Lionel Sanders.
And the 34-year-old appeared delighted with his late entry to the race.
"I'm really happy to be in Edmonton. It was a very last minute decision to be here," he said.
"I'm physically quite fit, been training hard and consistently for quite a long time with a bit of time off to recover from the injury. The run, the running part is going to be a bit of a struggle, I think. But I'm fit, healthy and going to race as hard as I can. So happy to be able to do that."
"And it's the first ever PTO Tour event. And I think it's fantastic and an honour to be able to support it by being here.
Brownlee also admitted he was relishing the opportunity to race without expectations following some time out of the sport, but insisted he wanted to keep competing at the highest level.
"I literally have no expectations," he said.
"As I said, in normal times, I definitely wouldn't be racing in this condition."
"I think it is the unrelenting desire to compete. It's what I love doing. I love the kind of energy and nervousness in the lead up to races that I enjoy standing on start lines. I enjoy pushing myself to the limit that you can only do in competitive situations. And I enjoy actually seeing what I've got against the best guys in the world. And so ultimately that's why I'm here and I'm happy to be here."
Brownlee also shared his thoughts on his own legacy as a triathlete, whose career has seen and helped the sport grow tremendously.
"I'm really proud to have been a triathlete enough to have a professional career in the sport of triathlon," said Brownlee.
"I didn't think that was possible, and never in my wildest dreams thought that I'd be a professional athlete for over a decade, go to multiple Olympic Games and win gold medals.
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"I've known about long distance triathlon since I was eight years old, and it's always been on my goals and my horizons to do. And obviously, only in the last few years has it been really supported and grown into the professional sport. I feel it can be and is becoming today with the PTO. So I think to be part of that is that makes me feel very proud."
Brownlee was coy over whether he believed he was in the frame for Europe's Collins Cup triathlon team, but said he wanted to win distance events around the world with many targets still in mind for himself.
"I think the biggest goal for me since I've known about it, to be honest, since I was eight years old, is winning," he said.
"I am running Kona. And that is I had an uncle doing Ironman when I was I knew about Kona, this legendary race where the guys were pushing themselves to the limit on a crazy island in the middle of the Pacific.
"So that's it. That's a big goal. And I think alongside that now it's winning the biggest long distance races in the world, of which the PTO Tour is definitely going to be for sure. And the Collins Cup."
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The PTO pits the ‘masters’ of triathlon against each other and comprises a series of races, the first in Canada this weekend before August's Collins Cup and September's US Open.
Asian Open and European Open events are expected to be added to the calendar in 2023.
And Brownlee was full of praise for the competition and the way it has promoted and driven the sport forward.
"As a sport, we've made some big innovations in that sense, in terms of I think we were one of, if not the first sport to have mixed gender competition in the mixed relay, which is fantastic," he said.
"And now I think we're seeing these kind of other sporting organizations there for the benefit of professional athletes to provide a new form of professional sport, providing great race opportunities and commercial opportunities, professional athletes, and providing great opportunities to fans to engage with the sport and watch our best athletes.
"That's fantastic. I think that the PTO is part of that, staying on the cutting edge, and it's fantastic to be there."
PTO Tour Canadian Open - All the highlights from the Men's event
PTO Tour Canadian Open - All the highlights from the Women's event
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