Two of Ireland’s top contenders for Rio Olympic Qualification are set to compete in the Olympic Test Event this Sunday.
Aileen Reid and Bryan Keane will have an opportunity to race over the same course they will be hoping up compete on at the 2016 Olympic Games. The Olympic Triathlon will start by the golden sands of Copacabana Beach with athletes completing a one-lap 1500 metre swim around the bay before transitioning to an eight-lap 41.6 kilometre bike and four-lap 10 kilometre run. Temperatures are expected to hit 30 degrees for the race with water temperatures of between 20 and 24 degrees meaning a non-wetsuit swim is possible.
33 year old Derry native, Aileen Reid currently lies 7th in the World Triathlon Series rankings but will line up this weekend as the number 5 ranked athlete on the start line. Reid has enjoyed top 10 finishes in her last four races including 4th in the London leg of the World Triathlon Series.
Reid has however suffered a blip in preparations with a chest infection forcing her to opt out of the Hamburg World Triathlon Series in mid-July. After three weeks of recuperation Reid is starting to return to fitness and looking forward toSunday’s race.
“For most nations it’s their selection race so one of the most important races of the season. However it holds no points or prizes, so for me it’s a chance to see the course and get a feel for Rio.”
“My plan is to start the race, I hope to swim and bike strongly so I can get the feel for the race at the pointy end. And the run does not matter so much, but actually if I feel better by that stage I’ll give it a lash.”
34 year old Cork man, Bryan Keane lies 41st in the World Triathlon Series rankings with a somewhat mixed bag of results to his name. Keane, a former European XC bronze medallist and member of the Irish National and Sean Kelly Cycling Squads has proven he has the pace to push for a top result when he can make it into the leading pack out of the water. Keane has notched up a 5th place finish in China at the Chengdu World Cup and 13th place finish at the top tier Yokohama World Triathlon Series already this season.
Keane will line up wearing number 39 from 77 starters for Sunday’s race and will have to contend with a positioning in the midst of the mass start.
“It’s pretty exciting, we haven’t raced there before. The last time there was a race in Rio it could have been 10 years ago so it’s new for all of us who are going to be racing the ITU event.”
On the course profile, Keane commented “There are different reports about the course so I’m looking forward just myself to going out there and actually seeing what it is as opposed to some second hand information.”
“Some people say it’s similar to the Auckland course, if that’s the case it suits me, it’s more about strength with a hard bike but we’ll see when we get there.”
The women’s race starts at 13:00 followed by the men’s race at 16:30 Irish time on Sunday, August 2nd. Live timing is available via www.triathlon.org/live with live video available via @worldtriathlon periscope.
Bryan Keane, Rio Olympic Test Event Interview Available Here