Alistair and Jonny Brownlee occupied the top two places at the ITU World Triathlon in Kitzbuhel.

Alistair suffered an Achilles injury in February which had forced him to miss a number of races, with today's event being his first at elite level since winning his second world title in China in September.

The 24-year-old had feared his chances of competing at the Olympics in London had been scuppered by the injury but today he reasserted his claim to be the gold medal favourite.

Alistair was four seconds adrift of the lead and two behind Jonny after the swim but he soon made that time up and, although there was little to choose between the pair, the former produced the only sub 30-minute run and ultimately won comfortably in one hour 50 minutes 13 seconds for his third victory in Kitzbuhel in four years.

Jonny was second in 1hr 51mins 02secs, 16 seconds ahead of Javier Gomez of Spain.

For Alistair it was a welcome return to action and an indication of where he stands ahead of London 2012.

He said: “I didn’t really know what my form would be like. I know I’ve trained really hard for the last couple of months and I’ve been really tired the last couple of days, so it was about whether I was going to recover from that in time or not.

“To go that quick, I couldn’t ask much more.

“I didn’t know what happened, we had 17 seconds and then we had 30 seconds but someone did a good job to get us back as I thought we were going pretty well.

“There was a bit of uncertainty but it was about getting out there and seeing how it worked.”

He added: “Races never go how you plan, I never have a plan these days. Obviously we tried to push the early part of the bike as much as we could and see what happened, we couldn’t get away but I think it was important we hurt a lot of people’s legs as well.

“It’s nice to be back on the podium, and it’s fantastic to go a one-two, that’s what we always try to get.

“I just needed to have a race after so much time off.”

Jonny, meanwhile, admitted the whole field had been affected by their push on the bike, saying: “It was a really hard start to the bike. After we got caught, I thought it was over, that’s it, but I think it hurt everyone else too to catch. It’s the way we race, we get on the bike and ride hard. Alistair just got on the run and killed everyone.

“It was a hard swim and the first part of the bike was really hard. My legs were tired, but I didn’t realise how much we’d taken out of other people.”

Of his brother’s return, he said: “Things are going as well as they could have done so far. It was a strong field, so to get first and second is great.

“Having Alistair back is like having things back to normal. It makes things much harder, he destroyed everyone today.”