"I can still medal in Tokyo," says Javier Gomez
Exclusive Q&A with the five-time ITU world champion
He’s been off the racing scene since last summer when a training exercise destroyed his Rio chances, but with a 70.3 win already under his belt what can we expect from the five-time ITU world champion in 2017? Over to Javier Gomez…
Congratulations on your win in Dubai. How did you find the return to racing?
Just to be on the start line was something special for me after many months out of racing. I was a bit more nervous than usual the day before the race as I wanted to achieve a good result and build some confidence after 2016, which did not go as I expected.
When did you start training for 70.3 Dubai, and what did you focus on?
I started training late October, but very easily, once my elbow was recovered. I’ve been increasing progressively, but I didn’t follow any specific training programme for the 70.3 distance. I just did what I do every year, expect maybe a little bit more TT riding than usual, but that’s it!
How’s your arm now following your accident and surgery last summer?
It’s fine, but to be honest it’s not the same as before the surgery. I can do everything and it doesn’t affect my performance, but I still feel some discomfort
What rehab did you do to recover from your injury? Was it a lot of arm and shoulder work?
Obviously I had to work on the elbow flexibility, but I also had to focus on arm strength, after my arm was in a cast for nearly six weeks. I lost all muscle lvolume, strength and tension. [The recovery] was harder and longer than I expected.
How did you deal with the disappointment of not being able to race the Olympics?
It was hard, that’s for sure, but I tried to remain positive. The crash was very simple and stupid, I was riding very slow. But to win five world championships you need to have good luck at some point, this time I had bad luck. That’s just sport.
Did you watch the men’s Olympic race? If so, how was that for you?
Yes I did, it was tough because I wanted to be there. The race went as I expected it would, which I think would have suited my type of racing. The Brownlees did a great job and deserved the two medals. I felt sorry for [teammate] Mario [Mola], he did a good swim and he nearly caught the first group.
What are your plans for 2017? Will you still race ITU?
Yes I will be focussing on ITU races, but I might try to do 70.3 World Champs depending when that the situation is before the Grand Final.
Is Tokyo 2020 still a possibility?
This is a decision I will make at the end of 2017, but I still think I can be there racing for the medals.
IMAGE CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES