Bryan Keane: Excited and Ready for Rio

BRYAN KEANE OLYMPIC POOL 2

As he prepares for the biggest triathlon event since the London Olympics, Bryan Keane has said he expects tomorrow's men's Olympic Triathlon final to be unlike any other race on the triathlon circuit.

The Corkman, who at two days shy of 36 years of age is the oldest athlete in the men's final, arrived along with Aileen Reid and their support team in Rio on Sunday evening and has spent the past days in specific preparation for the event tomorrow (Thursday 18th August, 15:00 Irish time).

Keane visited the race site on Copacabana beach on Tuesday and will spend the day before the race in light training to prepare himself for the rigours for what will be one of the most fiercely contested triathlon events in years.

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Redemption

After coming to the sport relatively late, Keane has had to overcome massive odds to get to his first Olympics - including a shattered knee cap from being knocked from his bike by a car - an accident that scuppered his chances of qualifying for London 2012.

Already this year he has battled through enormous pressure - only securing his place in Rio with the very last qualifying race - the culmination of 18 months of almost constant travel and competing necessary for Keane to maintain his ranking in the top 50 triathletes in the world.

Speaking from Rio, Bryan Keane said despite the fact that he finally getting his chance to compete in an Olympic final, he's treating the race like any other.

"I know it's a massive event but in my mind this will be just be another ITU race in a different setting. There might be a couple of hundred million people watching on TV but you have to block out that stuff and not even think about it. I’ve done some solid training since qualifying, you'll always want to have better form but I am here and I am ready to race."

Excitement

Having spent the first week of the Games in a pre-Olympics training camp in Florida, Keane said being in Rio is a relief.

"I can’t wait to get out there and represent Ireland, I've had such a massive amount of support all through this year that I really just want to repay people's goodwill by putting in the kind of performance I know I am capable of and the kind of performance that will make everyone back home proud."

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The Hotter the Better

Keane raced the Copacabana course at the Olympic test event this time last year and believes it will suit his strengths, especially if Rio is hit by hot weather.

"I was hampered last year with an achilles injury so I wasn’t feeling great but the course is good and tough. The weather has been changeable every day this week, this morning it was really calm and later on in the day it got really stormy but I don’t mind how the sea is, ideally I would like it to be a stinking hot and humid, that would suit me better but everyone’s in the same boat."

"The bike is eight laps with a short 45sec hill which goes up to 18pc so it’s tricky enough, it’s not like any other course on the World Series," said Keane. 

"Last year the hill didn’t break the pack, it’s not long enough so you don’t know, it’s technical and can be quite dangerous so you have to be careful there were a lot of crashes last year on the downhill there are off camber corners so you have be really careful."

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COURSE PROFILE:

Swim – 1.5km (1 laps) - The swim will be held in the Copacabana Beach. Athletes will run into the water from the beach and do one out and back lap.

Bike – 40km (8 laps) – The bike course heads down “Rua proffesor Gastao Baiana”. The first part of this street is the steepest climb of the circuit, followed by a fast downhill to “Av. Epilafio Pessoa”. Athletes then do a technical 90-degree turn, followed by another technical 90-degree turn just 200 meters later to “Avenida Henrique Dodsworth”. Atheltes face one more technical turn at “Av Atlantico”.

Run – 10km (4 laps) – Athletes will run along Av. Atlantico in front of Copacabana Beach for a total of four out and back laps.

ELITE MEN'S SCHEDULE:
Thursday 18 August 15:00

START LISTS:
Click here for the men's start list

Rio test beckons for Irish hopefuls

ITU Men's Preview

Up until a few weeks ago it wouldn’t have been crazy to suggest that the same men who stood on the podium in the triathlon event at the London 2012 Olympic Games would be a good chance to do the same in Rio.

For Javier Gomez Noya, Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee, the only men to have won an ITU World Championship since 2008, Copacabana was shaping up to be a brilliant showdown. But with the late withdrawal due to a broken elbow for Gomez, the London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist and five-time ITU World Champion, the race at Rio suddenly takes on a different shape.

There is no doubt that the Gold and Bronze medallists from London start as the athletes to beat. While the Brownlees’ run into Rio hasn’t been quite as long and consistent as their long campaign into London, there is nothing to suggest that this matters. The brothers have consistently proved they are excellent big-race athletes. Alistair is the reigning Olympic and Commonwealth champion, Jonathan also claimed medals in both those races. And in their lead in to Rio, they’ve combined for a 1-2 podium punch at consecutive Olympic distance World Triathlon Series events in Leeds and Stockholm this year.

Chance to Create History

The Rio course also suits the Brownlees perfectly. As Jonny recently told a paper in Yorkshire, it’s even more suited to the pair than London due to the demanding nature of all three legs, which simply means that the “the strongest all-round triathlete should win on the day”. Put simply, the Brownlees are primed to create more history. Alistair could become the first triathlete to successfully defend their Olympic title.

But there is also plenty to suggest the shape of the men’s race might be determined by those who have come onto the main stage since the London 2012 Olympic Games. While Spain’s Mario Mola did race in London, he’s stamped himself as one to beat much more recently on the WTS circuit. While Mola’s regular sub-30 10km times can occasionally see him pinned as a run specialist, there is no doubt that he is also capable on the bike, an important factor on the technical and hilly Rio course. A good swim will be key to Mola’s chances, but if he is anywhere near the leaders on the run, the speediest man on the WTS circuit will be within pouncing distance.

Unpredictable

It pays to remember that since triathlon’s introduction to the Olympics, it’s been a particularly hard race to predict. In fact, up until London, no athlete who had won the previous year’s test event had turned around and won gold the next year. Alistair Brownlee did break that trend, but the majority of the results so far show that previous form isn’t always the best guide. While 2008 gold medallist Jan Frodeno has since turned out to be one of the best triathletes of his generation, he hadn’t actually won an ITU race ahead of that epic sprint finish at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

ADDITIONAL STAT INFORMATION

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