McCrystal Praises Katie-George Dunlevy for Heroic Finish as Qualification Window Closes

14 September 2016; Katie-George Dunlevy of Ireland, right, and her pilot Eve McCrystal, react as they are informed that they have won gold in the Women's B Time Trial at the Pontal Cycling Road during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

The third and final UCI Para-cycling World Cup in Italy last weekend marked the final event in the qualification window for gaining UCI points ahead of Paris 2024. Linda Kelly was ruled out of the competition due to injury in Belgium the week before and so Dunlevy was paired with her old partner Eve McCrystal for the road race.

With just two laps to go in the road race the pair crashed but knowing the importance of a strong finish and gaining valuable ranking points, they battled on to secure fourth place. It was only when the race was finished that it was determined that Dunlevy in fact had a broken collar bone.

McCrystal posted the below message on social media praising Dunlevy’s tenacity and commitment to the team:

“This was not the plan. I stepped away from Katie’s bike 2 years ago as I couldn’t give 110% commitment to a potential Gold Bike for the Paris Paralympic Games.

We ride together on the track but not on the road.

In Belgium two weeks ago Katie and Linda had a nasty spill. Katie came out the better and was cleared to ride in Italy for the last Road World Cup. The Irish Team have 3 female bikes and we need as many points to qualify all 3 bikes for the games. Myself and Josie punctured the same day the girls crashed so with both Female Tandems DNF (did not finish) we were under pressure for points.

Myself and Katie were put back together for Italy. P2 in the Time Trial. Happy days form looks good and I was ready to empty myself to win that road race. I love a good road race. We attacked 3 laps in on a 10 lap 8k circuit. The British bike came across and that was it we were away. Two laps to go we punctured left turn the front wheel went and we were down. I knew Katie was hurt but after a quick head check we got back up. Thanks to the British mechanic, we got a wheel. We were still in P2 on the rd but with one lap to go we were caught. We both fought so hard to stay but poor Katie was in excruciating pain. I knew the collarbone was gone by the way she was screaming. I have no idea how she did it but we got to the finish line over cobbles and finished in P4.

I have never witnessed anything like it in my life. She is one tough cookie the fight that was in her was something I’ve never seen. She trusted me to get her home. I knew I’d get her home. We were doing it for our entire team to finish that race. Bike riders are tough. Katie is next level hats off to her. This is why she is a double Paralympic Champion Multiple World Champion. She will get back to full health. I’m sure by the weekend she will be back on the turbo resting her arm on the ironing board and working towards our shared goal.”

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