Triathlon-Olympic champ Blummenfelt says sub-29 minute 10km needed for Paris gold

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Triathlon - Men's Olympic Distance - Medal Ceremony - Odaiba Marine Park, Tokyo, Japan – July 26, 2021. Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway poses with his gold medal during medal ceremony. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/ File photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion Kristian Blummenfelt says that the flat Paris course means it might take a sub-29 minute 10km run to take gold in next year's Games and the Norwegian says he is planning his build up to produce just that.

Blummenfelt finished ninth in the test event on the Paris course in August, won by Britain's 2021 Olympic silver medallist Alex Yee, who clocked a blistering 29.00 minutes.

"I’ve been off the pace by around a minute in terms of 10k compared to the likes of Alex and Hayden (Wilde, Tokyo bronze medallist), so there’s some work to do there," Blummenfelt told the Tri247 website.

"Even though I didn’t race London 2012, it reminds me of London. In that it’s flat and on the bike we’re riding around some beautiful areas, iconic places, but the course itself doesn’t do much (to break up the race).

"So it's probably going to be a run-specific course, unless the French team is able to create something on the swim and bike.

"Alex's time was 29 minutes flat – and that on a course which looked to have measured a fraction long. So we're looking at maybe a realistic 10k of 28 minutes and 40-something, which is like 40 seconds faster than Tokyo."

Blummenfelt clocked 29:34 in Japan, Yee 29:44 and Wilde 29:52, while the Norwegian's Paris run this year was 29.49.

Only one other gold medallist has gone under 30 minutes in the Olympic triathlon run - Britain's Alistair Brownlee, who clocked 29.07 on London's flat course in 2012.

Blummenfelt has raced over a range of distances this year but says his focus for the next eight months will be on the Olympic distance of 1500 metre swim, 40km bike and 10km run.

"It's been good to get a shock to the system in Super League and WTCS in terms of the top-end speed, the technical courses and all of those small areas like transition and just being tactically aware in stressful situations," he said.

"I haven't been on the podium, but I’ve seen some okay results in training and I had some confirmations, like being up there in the Hamburg Super Sprint distance, which is not maybe my best one compared to Olympic distance.

"So being able to do well both in super sprint and just a few seconds off the pace in Super League and also being up there in long course, I feel I’m sort of within reach. But I definitely need to do some work on the run between now and Paris."

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Christian Radnedge)

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