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Team Ireland on the Attack in Men's Elite World Road Race Championships


Team Ireland went on the attack in the Men's Elite Road Race Championships in Innsbruck, today

Both Irish elite men's road champions infiltrated the break of the day in the gruelling 258km contest with time trial title holder Ryan Mullen joining Road Race champion Conor Dunne and nine other riders in racing clear of the peloton in the early stages.

It had been a sustained battle to establish the early move and Dunne, not for the first time in his career, showed ambition to spend much of the day out front in the biggest one-day race of the men's racing calendar.

He was joined by Mullen who knew that his best chance of featuring on a course built for climbing specialists lay in racing clear in the early stages.

The Irish duo showed the colours for more than 100km before the relentless repeat climbs of the 7km Igls took their toll and they ultimately were listed as non-finishers.

Behind, Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche nestled in the wheels waiting for the big climbing appointments to come on a day when there were eight serious climbs in a six hour marathon road racing contest in Austria's Tirol Region.

Dan Martin, whose preparation was compromised by the recent happy arrival of twin girls for himself and his partner, was left behind on the Igls climb with just over 45km remaining.

His cousin Nicolas was distanced shortly afterwards and persevered to finish 67th, 14m23s down on the new world champion Alejandro Vaverde as the only Irish finisher.

Afterwards, Conor Dunne described this year's World Championships as the "toughest" he's done as well as among the best i terms of atmosphere.

"It's definitely the toughest worlds I’ve done for sure," said Dunne. "I think the atmosphere was probably one of the best I’ve done. On that climb it was incredible. It was like doing an Alpe d’Huez every lap.

"I just wanted to finish the year on my own terms to be honest, to go out fighting. It’s been a tough month but it’s just so nice to be out front and to get all the support and to soak up the atmosphere.

"It was a tough day. It wasn’t an easy break to get in in the first place, actually. There was a big fight for it so it took a few bullets (fired) early on.

"I wanted to go deep into the race to be honest but, ah, c'est la vie, I went all in and emptied the tank.

"It was a bit of a battle at the start and me and Ryan covered the moves together so, yeah it just worked out we were both in there, to be honest. It was great to be up front with Ryan.

I'm super proud to wear the jersey. I’ve represented Ireland for eight years now so every time it’s goose pimples. It was awesome to be out front in the jersey today to soak up all the support. It was really, really special."

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