Katie-George Dunlevy and Linda Kelly completed the double at the Para-Cycling Road World Championships on Saturday, August 12th, soloing to victory in the WB Road Race.
In a packed day of action for Ireland at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Scotland, Ronan Grimes also picked up a silver medal while Ireland’s U23 men’s team lined out for the road race and Chris Dawson competed in mountain bike action.
Just two days after they claimed the WB Time Trial World title, Dunlevy and Kelly were in the rainbow jersey again after victory in the road race.
The win is Dunlevy’s eighth World Championships title, her second title with pilot Linda Kelly.
In the same race, Josephine Healion and Eve McCrystal finished fourth in the sprint for bronze, getting pipped on the line in a positive performance.
It was hard fought solo win for Dunlevy and Kelly, with the pair losing time due to a puncture midway through the race.
An early attack from one of the Polish pairs saw them gain over a minute on the chasing group, which included both Irish tandems. However, as they completed their second lap, they realised they had a slow puncture and lost nearly forty seconds on the chasing group with the subsequent wheel change.
The Irish pair pushed on to try close the forty second gap to the chasing group. It wasn’t long before they rejoined the group and decided to go in search of their so far elusive rivals.
No other bike was able to stick the attack as Dunlevy and Kelly tried to bridge across to the Polish tandem.
And showing just how strong they are, Dunlevy and Kelly had the legs to attack the Polish bike, going clear on the penultimate lap and effectively time trialling their way to an impressive solo victory.
Katie-George Dunlevy said:
“Unbelievable! I mean I can’t believe we’ve done that. It was quite a hard race, hard roads, really wet and we were out the back a little bit and just the cornering, you know we were just struggling at times and then I realised actually on the second lap we did have a puncture, a slow puncture so then I ended up thinking ‘okay it’s not my legs’ it was actually the bike was heavy.”
“We came in, we pulled in and we got a change of the wheel on the second lap coming into the third lap and we were then forty seconds back behind the main group. Poland at this stage had gone up the road and then we had to, just when the wheel was on, we just time trialled, a nice steady effort. Every time there was a drag we just pushed on the drag.”
“We bridged across to the main group and we attacked. GB tried to close us down and they couldn’t and the gap just got bigger and we just kept pushing, we were so determined we didn’t give up, we kept our heads up and then we bridged across to Poland in the second last lap and attacked them and got a gap and just TT to the line.”
Linda Kelly was delighted to take her second title world title as pilot for Dunlevy.
Linda Kelly said:
“We used our strengths as time triallers as well and just went for it on the last lap and we were able to enjoy the finish then as well. I said to Katie ‘just celebrate here now, enjoy this moment.’ So, yeah thrilled, second gold this week, delighted.”
The Polish tandem managed to hold their lead over the chasers to finish in second place, meaning just the bronze was up for grabs for the chasing group which included Josepine Healion and Eve McCrystal. In the sprint for third, Healion and McCrystal were pipped on the line finishing in fourth place.
Dunlevy and Kelly had a tough act to follow after Ronan Grimes’ brilliant MC4 road race saw him win a silver medal in Dumfries – following his two bronze medals at the Para-cycling Track World Championships.
The Athenry man set out in the morning in a bid to retain the World Championship title he won in Canada last year. Grimes was second best in a two-up sprint for the win with French rider Kevin le Cuff taking the win.
An early attack by Jozef Metelka was brought back to form a leading group of nine riders featuring the race favourites. Racing over six laps of the 15.6km circuit, the lead group extended their advantage with each lap.
A crash in the lead group in the fourth lap dwindled the group down to just six riders and on the final lap, Le Cuff attacked and Grimes was the only rider in the lead group able to follow his wheel and the pair worked well together to extend their gap ensuring the win would be decided between the two of them.
Le Cuff outsprinted Grimes to take the win. Settling for silver, Grimes can be proud of his effort to defend his title and adding silver medal to the two bronze he won last week on track.
Ronan Grimes said:
“Yeah, it was a bit of a brutal race, the weather here a lot like home, very windy, rain all day. (It was a) Very aggressive race, it split up early on and then coming into the last lap myself and the French rider got away. So it was the two of us up for the sprint and you know in fairness he’s a very strong rider, very strong sprint and I really have to be happy with second place today.”
On Thursday, Grimes competed in the Time Trial where he finished in 6th place. After today’s race, Grimes spoke about the standard of riders in the MC4 category but is happy to have been able to put in a strong ride in the road race.
Ronan Grimes added:
“I was kind of a bit shocked with how far back I was in the Time Trial a couple of days ago but it just goes to show the standard that everyone I think in that top 10 is capable of winning any of these races on any day and I think to put in a good ride two days later, I’m really happy with that”
Ireland also had four other riders competing at the Para-Cycling Road World Championships today. Earlier this morning, Chris Burns and William Clifford competed in the MC2 and MC4 road races, competing over four laps of the circuit. In what was a tough race for both riders, they each finished 13th encouraging performances for the two riders.
Tandem duo Damien Vereker and Mitchell McLaughlin fought hard in the MB road race to finish in 12th place. A brutal race that took its toll on the pair, with Vereker recovering from a recent illness.
The last Irish rider in action was Richael Timothy competing in the WC3 road race. Timothy had a very strong ride in the lead group for much of the race before her saddled slipped in the penultimate lap – making conditions much more difficult on an already challenging circuit.
Timothy did extremely well to stick with lead group despite the circumstances, ultimately finishing in 9th place.