STEPHEN Mavin said attention to detail had been the secret behind his win at the European Triathlon Championships in Ireland.

HPT SPORT 27 Mavin finish

The Somersham triathlete travelled to Athlone early last week to allow himself time to run the course several times before Saturday's race,

And his preparations paid off in style as he won gold in the age 35 to 39 age group sprint triathlon.

"I was absolutely elated to have won - it's an amazing feeling to have taken gold," Mavin said.

"It's what I was training for, and though I didn't want to tempt fate, I thought I had a decent shot at it.

"Everything came together on the day - the swim course was perfect for me, and I made sure I knew all the ins and outs of the bike and running courses. It could not have worked out better."

Mavin, 34, qualified to race in the 35 to 39 age group because he will turn 35 next month.

He aimed to establish as big a lead as possible after the swim, his strongest event. Things went to plan on the day, with the former Great Britain international swimmer pulling out a 40-second lead on the field.

"It was a simple course, just straight up the river and back, which reduced the risk of getting lost as the lead swimmer," said Mavin. "I kicked hard to get a gap on the downstream section, and opened clear water when we turned upstream. I wanted to make sure no one got a free draft behind me."

Mavin's well-practised transition helped him move smoothly to the 20k bike ride, the first half of which was into a headwind.

"I focused on levelling my heart rate and keeping my power output consistent. I still had a 40-second lead at the half-way point, and wanted as big a lead as possible for the run."

After losing a large part of early-season running training to injury, Mavin was unsure how his legs would stand up to the challenge of the 5k run, but found that competition from second-placed man Tony Weed spurred him on.

"Tony caught me at the end of the bike leg, but I managed to pull away in the transition. Knowing that he was catching me drove me on and, though it wasn't planned we actually worked together to keep our lead over the others.

"I know I have a decent kick finish, so I was pinning my hopes on that. When I saw Tony breathing heavily I put in a surge, to show him I still had energy."

With 250m remaining, Mavin moved clear of his rival to take the tape and the European title by 10 seconds.

The victory gives him automatic entry to the World Championships in Budapest in September, though he has not yet decided if he will accept the invitation.

"Training for the Euros was my goal for the season, and now I've achieved it. I'll need to have some time off to recharge the batteries and see where I go from here."