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McCurley Set for Rio Challenge

McCurley Set for Rio Challenge

First Irish Female Track Cycling Olympian to Compete on Saturday 13th Aug

On Saturday 13th August Shannon McCurley will make history by becoming Ireland’s first female track cyclist to compete at the Olympic Games. The Australian based rider qualified in the Keirin event over the course of a two year qualifying process, and will compete in the Velódromo Municipal do Rio on Saturday at approximately 2pm Irish time. McCurley competes in the heats of the Keirin first, where the top riders proceed automatically to the next round. The remainder of the field get a second chance to qualify via the repechages at approximately 2.40pm on the same day.

Keirin racing is a sprint discipline, where the a motorised bike, or derny, paces a group of riders for approximately 1.4km of a 2km race, gradually increasing the speed. The derny then pulls off leaving the riders to compete against each other. In Rio there will be heats and repechages where the riders compete to make it to the semi-finals, the medals are decided by the final 6 riders.

This is the first time that Ireland has qualified a female track cyclist for the Olympic Games, and McCurley has finalised her training in Portugal ahead of her arrival in Brazil; “I had a hard five week training camp in Portugal before coming across, but now I’m in the freshen up stage, so sharp efforts on race gear on the rollers keep the legs fresh every day.”

With the Olympic track competition beginning today, Thursday 11th August, the newly built Velodrome should produce top performances over the coming days. After testing the boards McCurley said “I’ve only been on this track once so far, but to me it feels super-fast. I guess that’s cos it’s new, and has very long straights and short bends, so there’s not a lot of free speed. I will see how it is today again, now I’m getting over the flight better.”

Looking forward to racing, McCurley has been soaking up the atmosphere in the Olympic village; “The atmosphere is crazy. I can’t get over how big it is here. When I first arrived I was shocked to realise there are actually sports other than cycling, and so many countries, athletes and staff here. It truly is a village! I can’t wait to race. I just want to be out there. It’s crazy to be around so many different sports, but now I just want to race and do what I do best.”

RTÉ 2 will be featuring live coverage of the race with commentary by Declan Quigley and PJ Nolan focusing on the Irish interest. Martyn Irvine will be sitting on the panel as a studio analyst, ensuring good coverage of the Olympic track cycling events, which will feature McCurley in the Women’s Keirin on Saturday at 2pm Irish time.

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