Day one of the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands saw all four Irish bikes in action, competing in the 1km Time Trial.
Solid riding against sprint specialists saw the Irish riders finish in the middle of the field, with the female tandem of Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal in 8th place, Colin Lynch and Eoghan Clifford both finishing in 9th place, and the male tandem of Peter Ryan and Damien Shaw finishing in 12th place.
The focus event for the Irish riders is the Individual Pursuit, and tomorrow will see Lynch and Clifford setting their sights on top performances.
In the 1km Time Trial the pairing of Tipperary’s Ryan and Shaw was particularly impressive in the men’s tandem event, finishing in a personal best time of 1.06.323. Shaw previously piloted James Brown at the Paralympic Games to a bronze medal win in the Time Trial, and in 2013 first paired up with Ryan, a former GAA player, for the Road World Championships, before taking a break from Paracycling until this track season.
The female tandem finished with a time of 1.13.579, with 0.1 seconds separating 6th – 8th place. Lynch also rode strongly to finish in a time of 1.19.83. Galway based Clifford burst onto the scene in 2014 to win both the Road and Time Trial World Titles at the World Championships in Greenville, USA, finished 9th in a time of 1.15.448, and will be one to watch in the Individual Pursuit tomorrow.
Coach Neill Delahaye was happy with the first day of racing at the World Championships, and saw it as a good opener leading into the target individual pursuit events; “the pursuit is usually first up, so it was a good opportunity to get that out today as a practise run. Tomorrow is the big focus this week for the two lads, and the Saturday for the tandems. Today everyone performed well, Colin was technically smooth, Katie is just back from injury, and Peter and Damien knock a fair chunk off the time they did in Newport in February. Eoghan got a PB in his event, the kilo was always going to be a challenging event, but if you can hit a PB in a non-target event, it shows you are in good shape.”
This weekend is very important for picking up points for qualification for the Paralympic Games in Rio. Delahaye said “There are not a whole load of Para events, so the world championships are of big importance, and you can see that people are picking up their game for Rio.”
Tomorrow will see Lynch competing in the Men’s C2 3km Individual Pursuit and Clifford in the Men’s C3 3km Individual Pursuit, both will compete in the qualifiers in the morning, with the top four times contesting medals later in the day. Competition begins in the Apeldoorn Velodrome on Thursday 26th March and will continue until Sunday the 29th March, with all competitions taking place during the day.
PROVISIONAL Competition Schedule – Irish team at UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships
(All times quoted are Irish time; approximate and schedule may be subject to change)
Day 1 – Thursday 26th March 2015 Results
10.15am Colin Lynch M C2 1km Time Trial 9 – 1.19.83
10.45am Eoghan Clifford M C3 1km Time Trial 9 – 1.15.448
4.40pm Dunlevy & McCrystal W B 1 km Time Trial 8 – 1.13.566
5.20pm Ryan & Shaw M B 1km Time Trial 12 – 1.06.323
Day 2 – Friday 27th March 2015
11.25am Colin Lynch M C2 3km Individual Pursuit Qualifiers
12.25pm Eoghan Clifford M C3 3km Individual Pursuit Qualifiers
4pm Colin Lynch M C2 3km Individual Pursuit Final
4.20pm Eoghan Clifford 1. M C3 3km Individual Pursuit Final
Day 3 – Saturday 28th March 2015
8am Dunlevy & McCrystal W B 3km Individual Pursuit Qualifiers
9am Ryan & Shaw M B 4km Individual Pursuit Qualifiers
6.25pm Dunlevy & McCrystal W B 3km Individual Pursuit Finals
7.00pm Ryan & Shaw M B 4km Individual Pursuit Finals
Day 4 – Sunday 29th March 2015
7.30am Colin Lynch
Eoghan Clifford M C1-2-3 Scratch Race Qualification
3pm Colin Lynch
Eoghan Clifford M C1-2-3 Scratch Race Finals