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Challenging Day for Roche and Mullen at World Road Championships in Innsbruck


Nicolas Roche and Ryan Mullen finished 46th and 49th respectively at the World Road Championships in Innsbruck today.

The 52.5km solo race against the watch ran between Rattenberg and Innsbruck in Austria's Tirol region and featured one five-kilometre long climb at Gnadenwald.

Roche was the first of the Irish into battle and ultimately stopped the clocks in 1h10m06.26s, 7m03.69s slower than new world champion Rohan Dennis of Australia.

Mullen was later in the running order and, despite a good start, found it increasingly difficult to maintain his rhythm as the ride progressed. Ultimately he recorded a time just over 14 seconds slower than his compatriot.

Neither rider was satisfied with his performance and for Mullen in particular, the race was deeply disappointing. Afterwards, the former European Elite Time Trial medallist admitted he was mystified by the result.

"I felt fine in the warm up," Mullen said. "I felt good and then I went down the ramp and I felt really good for the first ten minutes and I said 'today's not bad.'

"Then after ten minutes my legs and my body just said no and I’ve no idea why. I had a strategy of holding certain watts on the flat and I was way, way down on what I know I can do and what I’ve done in the past.

"Without getting into details, when I finished I was between 80 and 90 watts off what I should have done.

"If you have a bad day it’s usually within 10 to 20 watts, not 80. I don’t know, I’ve no idea. I’ve never performed that badly before at the world championships and I kind of feel really embarrassed about it.

"I feel like I’ve let the team down. I’m sure they’re understanding but the athlete inside me is pretty pissed off.

"Today was an hour and ten minutes and I went well for ten minutes. That means I had to mentally fight myself for an hour. Mentally it was so hard. I knew I wasn’t on a good day.

"I didn’t know why. Then I started thinking, maybe it’s my power (meter), maybe it’s not working. But then the heart rate started to drop and there was nothing I could do about it.

"It was as though I hadn’t fuelled properly but I had so I have no idea what caused it and I’ve just got to put it behind me."

For Roche, the result was less of a surprise having already sensed in training in the days immediately before the event that his form had dipped since the Vuelta a Espana finished 10 days ago.

The BMC rider nonetheless hoped that his legs would respond on the day but it wasn't to be.

"I already knew for a couple of days that I wasn’t in the best condition at the moment," Roche said. "I was struggling to recover from the Vuelta and it’s been a rough week.

I was motivated, ready and focused over the last ten days on just riding the TT bike and everything but unfortunately I was just empty today.

That’s the way it happens. That’s why it's a one-day race and sometimes, for example last year, I also felt awful. I was pretty tired and I ended doing one of the best TTs of my career so you know it was a bit of a gamble.

"I kind of thought that even though I felt tired that maybe with over compensation things would go good today and it just didn’t happen.

"I think it was obvious already yesterday when I was doing my efforts on the road and then this morning again when I trying to push a little bit on the home trainer when I was warming up.

"The problem is with the home trainer is you kind of know pretty quickly how your body is so when I started off, I started on a pretty solid pace and pretty quickly I realised that the pace I needed to hold for a result was just not going to happen.

"At the first time check I wasn’t too far off Barta who finished 14th so when I heard at the first time check that I was just about 10 seconds off the best time, although as one of the first off that wasn’t saying much, but I just knew that I was on the pace. But slowly after that I started to drop the power pretty quick.

"I think this is probably my 19th or 20th world champs and it’s always a good experience. You know, I’m not a TT specialist but I always try to come and represent Ireland and give it a go and some of the years I’ve had some pretty good results.

"I’ve been 12th and 13th in the time trial in the pros and some of the years I’ve been more average but I think for me it’s important to come here and give it a go and you never know on the day."

Mullen and Roche are back in action on Sunday in the Men's Elite Road Race in support of Dan Martin.

Road racing begins tomorrow with the juniors taking centre stage. Lara Gillespie and Maeve Gallagher go for Ireland in the Women's Junior Road Race over 71.7km.

In the afternoon, Aaron Doherty, Ben Healy, Breandán Flannagan and Archie Ryan wear green in the Men's Junior Road Race over 132.4km.

SCHEDULE (Irish Times):

Thursday 27th September

8.10am Junior Women’s RR

Lara Gillespie

Maeve Gallagher

1.40pm Junior Men’s RR

Aaron Doherty

Ben Healy

Breandán Flannagan

Archie Ryan

Friday 28th September

11.10am U23 Men’s RR

Eddie Dunbar

Michael O’Loughlin

Matt Teggart

Daire Feeley

Darragh O'Mahony

Saturday 29th September

11.10am Elite Women’s RR

Alice Sharpe

Sunday 30th September

8.40am Elite Men’s RR

Dan Martin

Nico Roche

Conor Dunne

Ryan Mullen


Further Information:

Rights Free Photography Available on Request

Official Website: https://www.innsbruck-tirol2018.com/en/

Cycling Ireland Website: www.cyclingireland.ie

CI Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cyclingireland

CI Instagram: @cyclingirelandfed

CI Twitter: @irecyclingfed

CI YouTube: Cycling Ireland

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