Cycling Ireland announces expansion of U23 Road Programme

Cycling Ireland has announced an expansion of the U23 Road Programme for 2022. The programme acts as a springboard for talented young riders to progress to senior professional teams, gaining exposure at an appropriate level of racing within Europe.

The primary objective is to provide development opportunities to young riders, many of whom will have progressed through Cycling Ireland’s Junior Athlete Development Programme for 16 – 18-year-olds.

Cycling Ireland will engage with eligible riders throughout the year monitoring athlete potential on an ongoing basis. While primarily focusing on the U23 category, riders outside of this cohort may be added for events to complement the team and enhance the overall programme. More established riders can impart valuable knowledge to younger U23s and also benefit from the additional race opportunities complementing their own programmes. 

Martyn Irvine has come on board to help lead on the development of this next step in Cycling Ireland’s pathway for aspiring pro road riders. Martyn was lead coach for the track squad in Tokyo Olympic Games and brings with him a wealth of experience in the pro peloton to this programme.

Cycling Ireland U23 Programme Lead Martyn Irvine said:

This season we are targeting up to four European stage races and the U23 European Championships in Portugal. The events have been selected to allow riders test themselves against some quality opposition and develop the skills required to progress to top level professional teams. We are looking forward to working together as a tight-knit group and ultimately targeting the Tour de l’Avenir if we can demonstrate that we can be competitive.

Cycling Ireland High-Performance Director Iain Dyer commented:

After a lot of planning and discussion it’s great to be able to lift this off the page. Making the transition from Junior into senior ranks is one of the toughest jumps to make in cycling, and I’m happy we can support our young aspiring pros in this way. The L’Avenir is probably the biggest platform afforded to U23s in road cycling and a potential springboard into a top team, so it’s a lofty but attainable goal. It would be great to think we might see them at a future World Championships or Olympic Games. It’s also great to see Martyn return to Cycling Ireland to lead on this programme, so we can be sure it’s in safe hands.