Ireland kicked off the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in style as Ronan Grimes sealed a bronze medal in the men’s C4 individual pursuit on Thursday, August 3rd.
Thursday’s action signalled the first day of the championships proper following Para-cycling Track World Championships individual pursuit qualifying taking place on Wednesday, August 2nd.
And as the championships kicked off on Thursday, Ireland looked forward to two bronze medal rides as Grimes qualified in the men’s C4 individual pursuit while women’s tandem pairing Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal qualified for the individual pursuit bronze medal ride on Friday.
Grimes put in a brilliant ride to record a time of 4:34.015 to comprehensively beat French rider Gatien Le Rousseau and seal a bronze medal – the first of Ireland’s UCI Cycling World Championships.
Speaking after the win, an emotional Ronan Grimes said:
“I’m really emotional after that. I think it’s probably the best result that I’ve done. I know last year I won the road race, but in an individual pursuit against the strongest C4 field that’s ever been there – I wasn’t expecting to get that medal.”
“The French rider I was up against beat me in every time trial this year so I thought this wouldn’t work. It wasn’t a great ride or as fast as yesterday but there was a bit of ‘grunt’ there that got me through the line. I’m delighted.”
Grimes was also in men’s C4 omnium action as he picked up 22 points with a 10th place finish in the 200m time trial. He will also be back in action with the 1km time trial qualification on Friday.
In the 1km time trial final, Dunlevy and McCrystal set a strong time of 1:11:580 to finish in sixth place and build up some track time ahead of Friday’s bronze medal ride.
The pair qualified for the final earlier in the afternoon with a time of 1:11.183 ahead of the evening’s final. They will be back in action in the individual pursuit bronze medal ride on Friday evening.
Speaking after the result, Katie George Dunlevy said:
“This morning we had the qualifiers and we just gave it our all. We came sixth, and we were actually hoping not to, but it actually became a good thing and we were able to get some more track time and work on a few things for tomorrow (individual pursuit bronze medal ride) so we’re happy.”
On Friday’s individual pursuit bronze medal ride, Eve McCrystal said:
“I think if we can deliver the ride that we just did there, we used to get more track time almost as the first four laps of the ride-off tomorrow. It went well, I feel a lot more comfortable on the track. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, fingers crossed.”
Wednesday’s Para-cycling Track World Championships individual pursuit saw other Irish riders put in strong performances at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
Richael Timothy (WC3) set a new personal best (PB) and National Record to finish in 6th place. Chris Burns (MC2) also set a new PB finishing in 11th place and William Clifford (MC3) finished in 14th place.
Josephine Healion and Linda Kelly placed an encouraging 7th in the pairing’s first outing together on the track. The duo followed that up with a 10th place finish in 1km time trial qualification on Thursday.
Men’s tandem pairing Damien Vereker and Mitchell McLaughlin unfortunately suffered an unclipping at the start of their individual pursuit qualifying and were not allowed to restart. They switch focus to the 1km time trial.
Results – Thursday, 3rd August
Women Individual Pursuit – Qualifying: Kelly Murphy – 11th (3:29.967)
Men C4 4km Individual Pursuit – Bronze Medal Ride Off (Omnium): Ronan Grimes – 3rd
Women B 1km Time Trial – Qualifying: Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal (Qualified in 6th place for the final – 1.11.183)
Josephine Healion & Linda Kelly – 10th (1:13.765)
Women B 1km Time Trial – Final: Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal – 6th (1:11.580)
Men C4 200m Flying Start Time Trial – Final (Omnium): Ronan Grimes – 10th (11.875)
Schedule – Friday, 4th August
11:42 Men B 1km Time Trial – Qualifying: Martin Gordon & Eoin Mullen | Damien Vereker & Mitchell McLaughlin
12:50 Men C3 1km Time Trial – Qualifying: William Clifford
13:18 Men C4 1km Time Trial – Qualifying: Ronan Grimes
14:18 Men C2 200m Flying Start Time Trial – Final (Omnium): Chris Burns
14:50 Women C3 200m Flying Start Time Trial – Final (Omnium): Richael Timothy
17:25 Men B 1km Time Trial – Final *Qualification Dependent
18:00 Men C4 1km Time Trial – Final (Omnium): Ronan Grimes
18:21 Men C3 1km Time Trial – Final (Omnium): William Clifford
20:16 Women B 3km Individual Pursuit – Bronze Medal Ride Off: Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal