Alistair Brownlee took the wire-to-wire win at Ironman 70.3 Dubai today, kicking off his campaign to win the Triple Crown series and a million dollars this year.

Over the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90-kilometer bike, and 21-kilometer run, the dual Olympic champion from the United Kingdom finished eight minutes ahead of the field, recording the second-fastest swim (22:35), the only bike split to go under two hours (1:58:51), and the day’s best run split (1:09:34).

“I wouldn’t be here if I was unfit, and I can be competitive to the point where I can win,” he had said pre-race — and he delivered in true Brownlee fashion. He was in splendid form, showing no traces of the hip injury that forced him onto the sidelines for most of last year. After surgery, he had spent the latter half of 2017 in physical rehab.

At the finish line, Brownlee said, “It did go over smoothly. Didn’t feel great on the swim, had a couple of bad patches on the bike but on the run I just felt great, I was in control and I actually really enjoyed the last 10-18K. I was just kind of soaking it in, enjoying the cheers. Obviously it’s so fantastic to be back after too much time spent at the gym the past six months.”

Compatriot Holly Lawrence led the women’s field through most of the day, overtaken only in the last six kilometers. The 2016 Ironman 70.3 world champion held on to finish on the final step of the podium.

Bahrain Endurance team captain His Highness Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa took third in his division off the back of the fastest bike split in the age group. David Plese finished 14th among the professional men.

This race marks the beginning of the 2018 Bahrain Endurance race calendar. Expect to see the racing red out in front once again in the following weeks.