Javier Gomez Noya, minutes after becoming 2010 World Champion in Budapest.

Javier Gomez Noya, minutes after becoming 2010 World Champion in Budapest.

1. When you started your triathlon career, did you think you could reach as high as you have reached? When did you realise and what made you think you could become the World’s Number One in olympic distance triathlon?

At the beginning I did not set very high goals for myself, I simply wanted to enjoy the sport, learn and improve little by little. What was clear from the very beginning was my passion for triathlon and my eagerness to work hard to improve. I realised that I had potential and slowly but surely, as training sessions and competitions went by I started to see that I could go far. It was a quite natural evolution. I have been progressing all my career, without big leaps but also without stop. Slowly but surely, as it is often said. Maybe my unexpected victory in the Under 23 World Championship in New Zealand in 2003 represented a turnpoint in my career. From then on I saw real possibilities of becoming elite World Champion one day.

2. After all those victories you have, how does a champion like you get motivated to train more and better and beat your rivals, whom by the way seem to be more and better each day?

My motivation and attitude are basically the same now and when I was 18 or 20 years-old. I love what I do, I enjoy a lot and my only worry is trying to improve, correct my defficiencies… be a perfectionist. That is what motivates me, not thinking about winning more titles.

3. Over the years you have been surrounded by people you trust, people who have helped you get to where you are now. Who are these key people in your career and what exactly should you thank them for?

Many people have helped me in different ways and I have a lot to thank them for. The Galician Triathlon Federation and more specifically Paco Villanueva, my great friend Nicolas Bayón and my parents. I must emphasize that without them my career as a triathlete would have come to and end in 1999. Of course, my coach since I started and until 2008, José Rioseco, with whom I learned to train, and what is even more important, to train well. My present coach, Omar González, some childhood friends who have always been there supporting me, my girlfriend, some old girlfriends too… I have been fortunate to have wonderful people around me.

4. What kind of specialized support do you have around you these days from a medical, physiological, nutritional, biomechanical or psychological point of view?

The truth is that I do not have too much support in that regard. From a medical point of view, Nicolas Bayón is in charge of my cardiological follow-up every so often. Besides that, the physician of the Galician Sports Technical Development Center Fernando Huelín and another friend evaluate my blood tests, advice me… They know the sport very well and that is a big point in their favor. I have never worked with psychologists, physiologists… this could be a positive and interesting thing, but things have always gone well for me and I never worried about that too much. However, I admit they can be an important support and I do not rule out working with them in the future.

5. Now that we are talking about it, could you tell us what would be your recovery and nutritional strategy after the most demanding training sessions? What nutritional supplements do you use, if any?

What feels best for me after a hard training session is cold water, especially for the legs. Personally, I feel I recover better and I feel better than after a massage. I am also very serious about stretching and performing specific Stretch sessions, and I like to work with an ostheopat that “fine tunes” my body every now and then. In terms of nutritional supplements, a lot of people do not believe me or even give me a weird look because I do not use any. On the other hand, I am very demanding with my food and the quality of everything I eat must always be very high. I control what I eat and I always try to make sure that my diet is healthy and varied.

6. These last two seasons we have seen that Alistair Brownlee and you are above the other triathletes in the run, and that several races are decided in a tough battle between the two of you in this segment. In view of his young age and progression, what strategies will you put in place to face him in the next few years?

Alistair is a great triathlete. I have a lot of respect for what he has done at such a young age. He has pushed not just me, but all those who dominated the world circuit to try to evolve, to improve to be able to beat him. I think I have improved and I am faster than I was a couple of years ago. I have been able to beat him in a few races and I am very proud of it, because he is without a doubt the toughest rival I have ever faced. He is hard to beat because he has very few weak points. You can’t attack his weak point. He is a very reliable swimmer, one of the best on the bike, especially if the road gets hilly, and we all know how fast he runs. Therefore, in order to beat him one must attack his strong point, which is the run, and be faster than him, which of course is not easy. I now know that if I am at my 100% I can beat him, and I am starting to figure out the way he runs. The only secret is to improve, be faster than the year before and then attack at the right moment.

7. Do you see any triathlete in particular challenging the Alistair-Javi, Javi-Alistair domination?

It may be true that when we are at our best level we have been the best this past season. But there are other great triathletes who make things very difficult for us. And everything can change from one year to the next: young athletes coming up, consolidated triathletes who improve… Alistair is not the only rival. Docherty, Kahlefeldt, Frodeno, Don… or Jonathan Brownlee, who despite being already a reality has an impressive potential for the future.

8. Your running ability is exceptional, but you are also one of the best swimmers in World triathlon. How important is this segment for you, not just in competition, but also in terms of time dedication within your training plans?

If you are not a good swimmer, you have no chance to win a World Championship race. This tells you how important the swim is. If you want to be in the fight, you must come out of the water in the front. I am fortunate to come from a swimming background and I have never had too much trouble in the water, but I also dedicate a good portion of my time to the swimming pool. Especially during winter, I try to establish a solid base in the water, with about 30-40 km. per week.

9. Is your dedication to the swim segment similar throughout the season, or does it change depending on the moment of the season? How?

It varies. As I was saying, I do more water work in the winter, setting some goal for the end of this cycle (February), which is usually a swimming competition in which I try to swim a good time. From that point one, the demands of my swim training diminish, stabilizing at about 20-25 km per week, including a day of very high intensity that allows me to maintain a good level for triathlon and dedicate more time and effort to the bike and the run.

10. Until very recently you were the Galician 1,500 m. record holder in short course pool. Will you try to regain that record and improve your personal best along the way with your swimming cycle this winter?

I don’t think so. I did not try it in 2010 either, although I did a good swim cycle. I am very happy with the times I have achieved these past few years, but my idea now is trying to be a better runner while maintaining a good level in the water, because I think I still have margin for improvement in this segment.

11. We have talked about the swim and the run, as the bike segment seems to be a bit devalued in draft legal races. How important do you think the bike segment in ITU Olympic distance racing nowadays, both in competition and training?

Cycling in draft legal races is very important. This importance is often invisible for the spectator. What I mean is that the best cyclists are less affected by the bike segment when they come to the run than those who are not as good on the bike. That is why sometimes we are surprised to see a great runner going slower than expected, considering he is able to achieve great times in an isolated run. The toll we pay on the bike is not the same for everyone. Besides that, from my perpective, drafting makes races more interesting from a tactical point of view: there are breakaways, attacks… it forces you to make many decisions during racing, watch your opponents, try to get away from them, make alliances with other athletes… But I don’t like some of the courses, I think the ITU should look for more attractive courses on the bike, harder courses that would enhance the quality of the show.

In terms of training, I also carry out a cycle of a little over a month riding lots of kilometers, and then the more specific training with shorter but more intense sessions. I also ride quite a bit paced by a motorcycle to simulate real competition pace, or harder.

12. This year we have seen some races in which a bike breakaway has allowed athletes to reach the finish line in the lead. Do you think such a scenario is posible in the Olympic Games?

Yes, of course this is something that could happen. And a lot of triathletes are going to try. We will have to be careful and decide whatever is best, try to control the situation, or even try to breakaway… One day races are often decided by tactical decisions, that’s way winning is not easy no matter how strong you are.

13. Speaking of the Olympic Games, do you see London 2012 very near or still too far?

I start to see London near. I think and hope that the Beijing experience will be valuable to face London in better condition. It is the only title I have not won in my career and I would love to get it, of course. Nevertheless I think there are other races besides the Olympic Games and I enjoy and get motivated by many other competitions.

14. This year the London WCS will be raced in the same course as the Olympic Games for the first time. Do you think what happens in this race will give us some insight into what may happen in a year and a half?

I think the 2011 race will probably have nothing to do with the Olympic Games race. They are different competitions, different athletes (not all of them, of course) and a different situation. If the course would be hard and demanding, we could get a good idea of what could happen the following year. But in a flat course, without major difficulties, it is possible that it will be a very fast bike in 2011, with breakaways, and then nothing in 2012… or viceversa. What I am sure is that it will ve a fast race, especially the run. The course, the weather… everything suggests that we will have to run very fast.

15. To finish, have you planned to try long distance triathlon (doublé Olympic, ITU Long Distance, Ironman…) or that world is still very far away?

I do not rule that out in the future. But at the moment my focus is on the olympic distance. I have lots of fun because we go very fast, but in the future I may try the long distance… it depends on how willing I am when the time comes. But I have a lot of respect for what the Ironman/long distance athletes do, and I am even a big fan of some of them!

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