Keane Moves in on Olympic Qualification

Abu Shabi 2016 Bike Shot

Job Done in Abu Dhabi

Following his top-20 finish at the first ITU World Triathlon Series race of the year, Triathlon Ireland Elite athlete Bryan Keane has moved up six places in the Olympic Qualification List, keeping himself on track to make it to the Rio Games this summer.

Keane came home in 18th place in a world class field on Saturday in an exciting race won by world number 2 ranked athlete Mario Mola.

It was Keane's first race of the season and came on the back of training camps in Spain and the US, where he prepared for the vital early part of this season when Olympic qualification is ultimately decided. Speaking shortly before he departed Abu Dhabi for Australia, he said he was satisfied with his performance and relieved to get his season underway.

Abu Dhabi 2016 Swim Start

Royal Rumble

"Coming in to the race I was in decent shape but because it’s at the end of the winter you don’t know how you’re going to get on but I was confident enough approaching the race," he said.
This year's race saw no major splits emerging in the swim pack and all 65 athletes emerging from the water within a minute of the leader.

"The swim was fine, it was the usual royal rumble and I got beat up a little bit. Actually I have some wounds on the back of my leg from where somebody grabbed me in the water and broke the skin," Keane remarked.

But he added that he did swim better than he did in Abu Dhabi 2015 with the result that he didn't have to battle as hard from his position in the second bike pack in order to make contact with the leaders who carved out a narrow lead coming out of T1.

"Because it was missing Javier Gomez and the Browlees and Richard Varga, the front group wasn’t organised or aggressive enough to stay away so after the first 13km loop on the bike the group was only 10secs ahead and we were always going to catch them."

Bryan Keane Abu Dhabi

Keane came in to transition off the bike mid-pack but a 32:32 run over 10km saw him pull back a few places by the finish line.

'I had a poor T2, I guess I was lacking a bit of practice and urgency on that and gave away time that I shouldn’t have. On the run I went out solid, didn’t go crazy. In those races I usually pass guys who head out a bit fast so by the second half of the 10km I just needed to consolidate my position, you’re running in 30c heat so it’s pretty hard.

Keane will have little time to rest as he races again this weekend at the ITU World Cup race in Mooloolaba, Australia alongside his fellow High Performance squad member Ben Shaw and TI Development athlete Con Doherty.

Following that he plans to race the next World Triathlon Series race in Gold Coast in early April before lining out at the World Cup race in Chengdu in China a week later.

"After that we will see where I am at, if I need to I will go to Mexico (for the World Cup race in Huatalco) and if not I will do Yokohama.