Martin Van Riel has signalled his intent to move up to full-distance Ironman racing after competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The 29-year-old Belgian star also revealed his plans for his 2022 season, headed by the Super League Triathlon Arena Games and Championship Series along with WTCS and Europe Triathlon Championships.
Paris podium the goal
Van Riel has already started his 2022 season in terrific fashion, winning IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai with a blistering time of 3:26:05. Danish star Daniel Baekkegard and Olympic Champion Kristian Blummenfelt were among the vanquished that day.
All roads though for the next couple of years will eventually lead to Paris in 2024, as Marten looks to improve on sixth in Rio and fourth in Tokyo.
The big focus for improvement in that bid for an Olympic podium at last will be the run, something the Belgian feels cost him in Japan last summer.
Speaking on the Arena Games Triathlon Shorts / Short Chute podcast powered by Zwift, he explained: “At this Olympics (Tokyo) I can say there were three guys that were stronger, especially on the run , it was not super close, so Hayden (Wilde), Alex (Yee) and Kristian (Blummenfelt) were worthy medal winners, but obviously it still hurts a little bit to come fourth.
“But to win the medals I am going to have to step up my run to maybe another level to really compete and that is what I hope to do in this Olympic cycle.”
Dreaming of Kona
Following on from the 2024 Games, the 29-year-old will then start to shift his focus to longer distances, with the eventual goal a tilt at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona.
“For me the plan is to do now some short-course racing for the next three years, but I am going to try build slowly up so the move to long distance is not going to be that big so after Paris I can hopefully immediately go for good results on the Ironman-distance races,” he added.
At last year’s Super League Arena Games, Van Riel was in tremendous form as he won both races in Rotterdam and London – beating Yee in the process in the Netherlands.
Having already shown his ability to excel, Van Riel knows other triathletes will view him as one of the favourites for this year’s Arena Games.
He has confirmed that he will be on the starting line at Munich and Singapore in April and May respectively, but will miss London as the Belgian is heading to Sierra Nevada for an altitude camp.
Following on from Singapore, Marten will then jet off to Yokohama a week later as the 2022 WTCS kicks off in Japan. September will then see Super League stage its Championship Series as the Belgian returns for another year following his sixth-placed finish in 2021.
Having already won his first race in 2022, Van Riel will now looking to keep that going throughout the season.
He said: “I want to win every race I start – I think my main goal in the coming year is to take a gold medal in the WTCS because if you can do that, you can take a gold medal at the Olympics.
“I also haven’t won a Super League Championship Series, only the Arena Games, so that is also a step I want to make and then actually the European Championships is also a big focus – it’s most likely my last time I will be competing in the European Championships, so that is also a really big goal to perform there.”