A hugely impressive Irish team has today been confirmed for the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, which will take place later this month from March 17th to 20th in Montichiari, Italy.
Once again Ireland will be entering four bikes in the championships across both sprint and endurance events, with the focus of all riders on the Individual Pursuit as 2015 World Champion in the Scratch Race, Eoghan Clifford looks to defend his title.
Indeed, the decorated team includes former World Champion Colin Lynch, multiple-World Champion Eoghan Clifford and multiple World medallists Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal on the women’s tandem. The new male tandem pairing of Peter Ryan and Seán Hahessy will be taking part in their first major championship together and will also be ones to watch.
The main focus for the Irish team will be on the endurance events, in particular the Individual Pursuit. All bikes will compete in the Pursuit, with Lynch and Clifford also competing in the Scratch Race, in the same Men’s C1-3 event. Last year, Clifford surprised the field in this event by attacking with 25 laps to go, lapping the field to win the gold medal and world title.
Meanwhile, both tandems will be competing in the Kilo Time Trial, which is a four lap race against the clock, and Dunlevy and McCrystal will also compete in the Sprint.
With the Irish Para-cycling team currently completing a block of training at the Cycling Ireland base in Palma, Mallorca, National Performance Coach Neill Delahaye is happy with how the training has been going.
“We are at the end of a very demanding training phase,” he stated. “This year’s camps have ramped up in intensity, as is to be expected in a Paralympic year, and the whole team has coped well with the extra load.”
“They are now ready to give a good account of themselves in Montichiari. The riders have committed fully and put in a lot of hard work to get themselves in shape for these World Championships. These World Championships are also the last UCI Nation ranking event counting for the Rio Paralympic Games. The team here are really motivated to put in some strong performances to help Ireland qualify as many bikes as possible for the Games.”
This is the last competition on the Para-Cycling calendar that offers qualification points for the Paralympic Games in Rio.