Jonny Brownlee was hampered by a bike crash as he could only finish seventh in the opening World Triathlon Series race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

The Olympic silver medallist went down early in the bike leg in slippery conditions while leading and, although he did not lose too much time, his right knee bore the scars of the crash.

It was clear from the start of the run that Brownlee would not be in contention for a podium place and he eventually crossed the line 53 seconds behind South African winner Henri Schoeman.

Brownlee said: "I didn't realise how slippery some parts of the circuit were, and then I lost a bit of confidence and didn't really get it back on the bike. I knew I wasn't going to run very well, but that's the first race done."

Schoeman, the bronze medallist behind both Brownlee brothers in Rio in 2016, recently faced allegations that he failed a doping test during the Olympics, but the International Triathlon Union cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Schoeman is likely to provide the main opposition to both Brownlee brothers – Olympic champion Alistair missed the race in Abu Dhabi with a calf injury – at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next month.

Britain's Jess Learmonth is also in the England team for the Commonwealth Games and she survived an even more hazardous women's race to finish second behind Holland's Rachel Klamer.

Olympic bronze medallist Vicky Holland was held up by crashes on the bike and finished 11th, five places ahead of Non Stanford, who picked herself up after hitting the deck.