Two medals and seven Top Ten finishes rounded off a successful Para-Cycling Track World Championship campaign for the Irish team this week.
The Championships, which took place over the weekend in Montichiari, Italy, saw some fantastic performances from cyclists in green.
Earlier today, Ireland’s Eoghan Clifford secured fifth place in the MC1-2-3 Scratch Race. Clifford, who was the defending world champion, raced in the final of the event with team mate Colin Lynch who finished in 13th position. The pair qualified for the final on Friday.
While it might have been a disappointing end to the competition for Clifford, he enjoyed previous success earlier on in the Championships, securing bronze in the MC3 3km Pursuit on the same day that Colin Lynch won silver in the MC2 Pursuit.
Speaking from the velodrome earlier today, Clifford stated that he was disappointed with the result, as he had ridden an aggressive race.
“It was tough; I tried to make it tough, so I’m disappointed, fifth was not what I came here for. I wanted the gold medal, and at least a medal. I may not have had my best legs, but I had the legs to win it.
“I had a few attacks off the front of the race, and when the Aussie guy (David Nicholas) went for a lap. I did a good bit of work to chase it down, stringing out the bunch behind me. The guys said that I was pretty heavily marked though too.
“I’m going back to Galway; mentally I need a break now to take stock of the past few months,” he continued. “I’ll take a few days off the bike before getting back up and running. It will be good to draw a line under the early part of the season.”
Also in action today were the male tandem pairing of Peter Ryan and Sean Hahessy and the female tandem of Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal, the latter breaking the national record in the qualifying 200m with a time of 12.259. This netted a 6th place finish for the women, with Ryan and Hahessy finishing in 17th overall.
Speaking after a tough few days of competition, Ryan stated: “Next week is an unload week, as much for the head as the body. Since January we have been looking forward to and preparing for this weekend, so there’s now a bit of mental fatigue, so it will be good to recalibrate and refocus.”
Meanwhile, National Performance Coach Neill Delahaye was happy with the performance of the team over the championships.
“We are happy with our performances, particularly in the targeted events, so we are confident that we are making progress, but there is still work to do before Rio, fine tuning to be done.
“The trajectory of improvement our bikes have made in time gains in our PBs is in excess of our competitors. Our improvement is greater, but we still have a gap to bridge. While we went better than ever; we need to go better again for the Games.”
You can look back on the competition here.