IRELAND’S Ronan Grimes has won Silver in the MC4 Scratch Race at the Para-cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn on St Patrick’s Day.
The 30-year-old from Athenry in Galway had been inching closer to a World Medal throughout the Championships at the Omnisport Arena, as had the whole of the Irish team, with Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal losing bronze in Tandem 3km Individual Pursuit by 0.067s on Friday.
On Thursday, Grimes rode 01:10.648 to be eighth in the MC4 1km TT, his time 2.826s outside the medals, which were led by World Champion Jody Cundy from Great Britain.
Grimes then smashed 9 seconds off his personal best for 04:46.518 in Saturday’s MC4 4km Individual Pursuit – the time leaving him in fifth, just 0.101s away from a second round ride-off for the Bronze Medal.
Ronan Grimes said: “I’m still in shock. It’s been a good week. The TT on Thursday was a good result, I rode a second quicker than last year, so I knew even then that I was in good form. Then in the pursuit I was unlucky not to get the ride-off.
“[Cycling Ireland Para-cycling Coach] Neill Delahaye has brought me on a tremendous amount since my first Worlds in 2017. I was probably just making up numbers at that first Worlds, now, I was so close to that medal ride-off in the pursuit, and able to go into the Scratch Race confident of a medal. That’s the result of a serious amount of work from Neill and the team over the last two years.”
He said: “It’s amazing the amount of work that Cycling Ireland, Sport Ireland and Paralympics Ireland put into this, so it’s nice to get a result out of the week to thank them for everything they do to make medals like this happen.”
The two men who made that pursuit ride-off ahead of Grimes, Colombian Diego Duenas and Romanian Carol-Eduard Novak also rode 4:46s, and faced Grimes again in St Patrick’s Day’s MC2 15km Scratch Race, one becoming an unlikely ally.
Duenas attacked 20 laps into the 60-lap affair, Grimes reacting quickest, and the pair quickly gaining a lap on the field. Duenas was then the only rider who could beat Grimes for the World Champions’ title.
“It was a fairly cagey race,” said Grimes, “but when Diego Duenas attacked I got across to him and I didn’t even realise we had a gap until we had half a lap. We took a lap very easy and after that it was the two of us marking each other out.
“With 10 laps to go you knew you were certain for a medal, but I got boxed in with about four laps to go. I was just caught in the wrong place and couldn’t even contest the final sprint. That was a bit upsetting, but I’m delighted to come away with a medal.”
Though double Road World Champions Katie-George Dunlevy and pilot Eve McCrystal did not take away a medal, they set a new National Record in qualifying for the 3km pursuit of 3:30.589, a feat mirrored by Men’s Tandem Peter Ryan and pilot Sean Hahessy in the 4km pursuit. The pair, nicknamed the Tipperary Tandem, rode 4:17.063 to finish fifth.
On Thursday, WC3 athlete Richael Timothy, making her World Championships debut, had set a new National Record in her 3km individual pursuit ride, setting 04:48.945 for a 9-second personal best.
MC2 athlete Chris Burns, hailing from County Down, also hit a personal best by 6-seconds in that event, going on to record another personal best and new National Record in the 1km TT, before finishing eighth in MC2 Scratch on Saturday.
The Irish Cycling Team for the 2019 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships, Apeldoorn:
Rider (Category, Events)
Katie-George Dunlevy & pilot Eve McCrystal (Women’s Tandem, Pursuit, Kilo, Sprint, Mixed Kilo Relay)
Martin Gordon & pilot Eamon Byrne (Men’s Tandem, Kilo, Sprint, Mixed Kilo Relay)
Peter Ryan & pilot Sean Hahessy (Men’s Tandem, Pursuit, Kilo)
Ronan Grimes (MC4, Kilo, Pursuit, Scratch)
Chris Burns (MC2, Omnium: Kilo, Pursuit, Scratch, Flying 200m)
Colin Lynch (MC2, Omnium: Kilo, Pursuit, Scratch, Flying 200m)
Richael Timothy (WC3, Omnium: Kilo, Pursuit, Scratch, Flying 200m)