NEWCASTLE’S Aaron Royle has finished a roller-coaster year on the International Triathlon Union world circuit in 19th place.
Royle was 16th in the season-ending ITU event, the world series grand final, held in Cozumel, Mexico, on Sunday. The 26-year-old from Maryland was well placed after recording the seventh-fastest swim leg and second-best time on the bike. But he faded on the run leg, finishing 1.55 minutes behind South African winner Henri Schoeman.
Royle enjoyed some milestones in this year’s world series, in particular a third placing in Leeds and a ninth on his Olympic debut in Rio.
But his overall position on the rankings was a step back after finishing ninth, 10th and 11th over the past three years.
The race culiminated in dramatic scenes when Britain’s Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee has helped his near-unconscious brother Jonny take second place.
Jonny initially appeared to be coasting to a win, but then he started to succumb to the fierce heat, staggering and slumping to the ground.
Alistair abandoned his duel with Schoeman to help his younger brother.
Schoeman won the race and Jonny was second, with Alistair alongside him for third. There was a protest against the Brownlees' finish, but under triathlon rules assistance from other competitors is allowed.
Jonny needed medical attention afterwards and the result cost him the world series title. Had he held on, Jonny would have taken the series lead from Spaniard Mario Mola.
But Mola finished fifth and that was enough to secure the overall series win.
Alistair beat Jonny a month ago to win his second-straight Olympic triathlon gold medal.