Though we must await the official announcement on 31st May, we now know that despite having had to withdraw from Sunday’s ITU World Triathlon series, due to a niggle, Enniskillen’s Gavin Noble is on his way to London 2012.
Ireland’s number 1 ranked male triathlete Gavin Noble was racing at the top table of international triathlon at the Madrid ITU World Triathlon Series on Sunday afternoon. Madrid was the final points scoring race before Olympic Qualification is officially announced on the 31st of May. Noble lying 44th knew his position was relatively secure within the top 55 required for a ticket to London.
The tone for the race was set early on as the sport’s top swimmers set a quick pace which saw the field of 68 athletes well strung out. Varga of Slovakia was first out of the 1500 meter open water in 17mins 45secs which caused the field to be scattered all over the road by the time they had negotiated the first transition.
The early pace saw Noble suffer in the swim and he exited the first transition 1min 12secs behind the lead group which contained eventually winner Jonny Brownlee.
Noble was working amongst the 2nd chase pack eating into the advantage of the 1st. Their persistence paid off and they regained contact with just a few kilometers of the 40km bike ride remaining.
The lead pack of 9 was well out of sight by this time, building up a 2 minute advantage going into the 10km run.
With the Triathlon Ireland team dotted around the course Noble was being fed information on the performances of the athletes who were in danger of jumping him.
Within a couple of kilometers it became clear that Noble was suffering from the savage pace set on the bike and sighting a running niggle Noble was pulled from the race.
“We pulled Gavin out as we knew his Olympic Qualification was secure and he’d done a great job of defending his ranking over the past few months. He was suffering from a niggle when he started to run so there’s no point in risking anything at this stage.” Triathlon Ireland’s High Performance Director Chris Jones commented.
“It’s been a brutal process over the past 2 years with Gavin gathering points in ITU races all over the world. We’ve had a difficult period managing an injury he picked up a few months ago which has meant it’s been a nervous past 2 months.”
“Everyone’s delighted Gavin is over the line and he now has 3 months to build fitness for the Olympics Games ” added Jones.
Subject to official confirmation Noble will become the first male triathlete to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games. He will be joined by the now world number 7, Aileen Morrison who picked up a stunning silver medal after she set the quickest run split of the day in the women’s race on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m delighted for Gavin. He has paved the way for triathlon in Ireland and I’ve looked up to him since I saw him compete in Athlone in his trademark pink shorts.” Morrison joked.