Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal finished fourth, and just outside the medals in the Women’s B Tandem Sprint at the UCI 2018 Para-cycling Track World Championships tonight. Their qualifying time of 11.892 seconds was an incredible 3.5 seconds faster than the current national record of 12.259 seconds. The eventual winners were the Great Britain bike of Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott, who have been dominant all week.
In the men’s tandem event, more national records tumbled with sprinters Martin Gordon and Eamonn Byrne smashing the previous record with a time of 10.539 seconds and qualifying as sixth fastest bike. The duo progressed to the match sprint where they were beaten by the Netherlands pairing of Tristan Bangma and Patrick Bos.
In the final cat and mouse match sprint the Irish powerhouses were forced to settle for sixth when Macedonia took the win. This was a very positive outing for Gordon and Byrne who have been focusing on the sprint, an event that features in the Paralympic Games.
Also in action was Ronan Grimes, who has been enjoying some top results in his first track cycling races at a major championships. The Men’s C4 rider was competing in the MC4-5 Scratch Race, finishing eighth overall – but third fastest C4 bike. Unfortunately, this did not result in a medal for the Scott-Orwell Wheeler, as medals were awarded for the overall category winners solely.
In the Women’s B Tandem Sprint McCrystal and Dunlevy were delighted with their qualifying sprint, which put a second medal hope within their grasps.
“We got what we came for, and now we are going to have fun in the match sprints,” said McCrystal directly after their 200m sprint when they clocked a time 0.367 seconds faster than the longstanding national record set by Paralympic medallists Catherine Walsh and Fran Meehan in 2012.
“We are going to have fun in the match sprints, and try and get a medal,” added McCrystal ahead of their quarter final race against New Zealand. The Paralympic and Double World Champions progressed to the semi-finals with a win.
In the semi-finals the duo, who won bronze earlier this week in the Women’s B Tandem 3km Individual Pursuit, were outpowered by eventual winners Great Britain, and were beaten by Belgium in the race for bronze.
Speaking at the end of what was a successful week McCrystal reflected on their success, saying “we had a great weekend – bronze in the 3km pursuit, a national record for our flying 200m, and fourth overall in the sprint. Both of us will take a lot of positives out of that weekend.”
The attention for the team will now switch to the road, with preparations for the Road World Cups and the Road World Championships already in place. McCrystal said – “we will both take a few days off and then put our heads down for the start of the road season which kicks off in May.”
This brought to an end what was a hugely positive weekend for the Irish team with a bronze medal and eight top ten finishes!
The UCI 2018 Para-cycling Track World Championships took place in the Velódromo do Rio, Brazil from the 22nd – 25th March.