How can anyone stop the Brownlees?
Alistair Brownlee threatened to retire from triathlon 50 times. He barely trained for more than a month in his home Olympic year. He missed the first three races of this year's World Series.
And then he came back and beat a strong field by such a wide margin as to be almost ridiculous.
The senior Brownlee, aged 24, romped home in Kitzbuehel 50 seconds ahead of his 22-year-old brother, Jonny, and more than a minute in front of third-place Javier Gomez, the Spaniard who once ruled men's triathlon before the Brownlees ruined his fun.
How he must curse them. He has trained with them, raced alongside them for a French domestic team, gone up against them many times. They get along well. But they have taken his sport and moved it beyond the reach of Gomez or, for that matter, anyone else who cares to try.
Alistair Brownlee beats brother Jonny in Kitzbuehel one-two
"Those guys are above the rest. Nobody is going to get near them," their domestique, Stuart Hayes, told us having crossed the Kitzbuehel finish line. Hayes and the Brownlees make up the men's Olympic team for Britain this summer, with the former employed as a domestique for the latter.
He took to that role admirably in Austria, riding on the front of the pack and controlling the pace after the Brownlees' early break had been caught. Jonny admitted Hayes' presence had made their lives much easier - allowed the brothers to rest and regroup while preventing any of their rivals from breaking clear.
But would they have won anyway had Hayes not been there? The gut answer is: probably. If only because it has been such a long time since a Brownlee did not win a major triathlon.
This sounds like hyperbole but the facts sustain it. In the last 12 months, Alistair has won all six major Olympic-distance races he has entered: six World Series events and the European Championships. In a spell stretching from May 2009, he has won 12 of the 15 World Series races he started. When he missed this year's Madrid and San Diego races through his torn Achilles tendon, Jonny won them instead.
Even knowing the training Alistair had missed and the undoubted setback of his injury, secretly, it was hard not to expect this victory in Kitzbuehel; hard not to start forming the opening paragraphs of a 'Brownlee wins comeback' story while he was still out on the bike. It felt inevitable to watching journalists, let alone triathletes in the act of being punished.
Last year we saw it at the European Championships. Alistair had briefly worn a protective boot around one foot that spring, too - not as bad an injury but still not ideal - and then he turned up in Spain, took a puncture in the ride, was brought back to the pack by his team-mates while Jonny slowed things down at the front, and in the end he won comfortably.
No matter what you throw at Alistair Brownlee, it does not stick. What a psychological dampener that must cast over everyone else in the field. Here's a man who spent the first half of 2012 entirely missing in action: he comes back for his first race and takes the world's top 50 to triathlon school.
How can he and Jonny possibly be beaten at London 2012?
Kitzbuehel: Another podium shared between the Brownlee brothers. Photo: Getty Images
Don't misunderstand, there are clearly many ways in which that Olympic race in Hyde Park can finish without a Brownlee on the podium, let alone winning the title. Injury, illness, misfortune, all the devils that lap at any Olympian's heels.
But what can their rivals do? What plan can they realistically come up with?
If they go out hard from the very start, the Brownlees are highly unlikely to be too far behind them after the swim, and with the help of Hayes they will surely gobble up anyone who attempts to simply go out at maximum speed on the bike and stay there. Then the race is theirs to control.
Try to get in a breakaway with the Brownlees on the bike and they will keep you there, use you as a domestique whle you take your turn on the front, then spit you out on the run. In Kitzbuehel, Alistair exploded into the run with such a turn of pace that he left a dozen world-class opponents, all in transition alongside him, for dead.
Maybe you could team up with a few other triathletes and launch break after break on the bike to wear the brothers out. But the Brownlees work together too effectively - they manipulate the peloton, regulating its pace, deciding its strategy. Can you outwit them? In an Olympic race where international alliances are nothing like as easily forged as a sibling bond?
There are probably many other tricks left in triathlon's book - by all means name some in the comments, Gomez and co will be grateful. But the world has seen each of the brothers win alone, win together, and now win with Hayes thrown in for good measure. It feels like they will have an answer.
Any lingering doubts that Alistair Brownlee will start the London 2012 triathlon as the favourite are gone. Now, we may see the shortest odds on a British one-two in Olympic history.