Sport

Reid to test the water in Rio

Irish number one Aileen Reid 
Malcolm McCausland

IRISH number one Aileen Reid returns to competitive action this weekend when she takes part in the Olympic Triathlon Test event in Rio de Janeiro. It is the Olympic selection race for most countries with a maximum number of competitors limited to three per nation.

The Derry native has no fears on that score being the sole Irish woman in action and currently ranked seventh in the World. Nevertheless it will be the perfect opportunity for her to familiarise herself with the Rio course in advance of the big day now just over 12 months away.

She will also be keen to get her season back on track after a disappointing sixth place finish at the European Games in Baku last month. That was followed by a bout of illness which kept her out of the ITU World Triathlon Series race in Hamburg.

After improving consistently during the early part of the season in every WTS race (Abu Dhabi 26th, Auckland 15th, Gold Coast 7th, Yokohama 6th and London 4th), the former NI Senior cross country champion went into Baku favourite for the gold medal. But a poor cycle leg saw her drop out of competition for even a podium place.

“I went back to training in Morzine France with some venom and possibly overdid things, getting myself a chest infection,” explains Reid. “I was forced to miss Hamburg and have some recovery time instead. In missing a race, I dropped one spot in the World Triathlon Series rankings to seventh.”

After Rio, Reid plans to put in an intense block of training in the United States and prepare for the final two World Triathlon Series events in Edmonton and Chicago. That means she will give the Stockholm fixture a miss. That will bring her 2015 season to a close. In the meantime she plans a cautious approach to Sunday’s race.

“Coming off a chest infection that eases the pressure on me since I’d probably not yet race otherwise.My plan is to start the race, I hope to swim and bike strongly so I can to get the feel for the race at the pointy end. And the run does not matter so much but if I feel better by that stage I’ll give it a lash,” promised Reid.

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.

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