Ronan Grimes showed total consistency through out this morning’s 4000 metre Time Trial races as he finished with two personal bests and a fourth place in the event.
The Athenry man rode an impressive heat in the morning against eventual gold medalist Jozef Metelka of Slovakia who rode an astounding 4:22.772 World Record against him to qualify for the final.
Ronan went deep and finished with a 4:37.696 which saw him progress to the bronze medal ride off against Colombian speedman Diego German Duenas.
Shortly after 7.15am Irish time Ronan’s start gate counted down and released its hold on his rear wheel. He sprinted out of the saddle on the first pedal revolutions of his 4km medal race.
He started hard, gathering time against the much-fancied Colombian in a display of poise, rolling around the high-speed track as close to the black line as he dared.
With three laps to go he had taken two seconds out of Duenas but then the Colombian’s form kicked in – he clawed back the time and began to overhaul the Irish man through out the last couple of laps.
It was another personal best for Ronan with 4:37.001 in this his debut on the wooden boards of a Paralympics Velodrome.
The Galway rider spoke to Cycling Ireland about the tactical game plan for the race.
“There’s not much more I could have done there. He never drops off – he always maintains the pace. We were looking at the splits from this morning. He started very slow in that race. We were calculating that if it was like that qualifier I could have had four seconds on him by two kilometres. The plan was to go out hard and hopefully he would go out slow and then I might catch a bit of a draft off him. I knew that he would drive on at the end. If he started slightly slower there might be a bit of a slipstream there and it would keep me for him for just a bit longer and then whatever kick he had at the end I might have had a buffer. It was the last two laps when he pulled away from me. I can’t really see what is going on behind me but I had ques from Neill Delahaye, my coach, and I knew if I heard ‘squeeze’ then it was tight and that we were neck and neck. At that stage I was thinking about putting more power in but really I was just holding the bike and going slower,” he explained.
Ronan said he was disappointed to not take the medal and his first thoughts afterwards were for all those who worked with him on his journey to the event.
“It is disappointing to come out the wrong side of it. But I have to be happy with two PBs, especially in a ride off, when there’s pressure there for a medal. If I had gone slower I would have said I did wrong but everything I had was out there. It would have been nice to say thanks to my coach Neill Delahaye with a medal for all his effort helping me and especially for his coaching on the track. The time trial is in a few days so that is another opportunity,” he added.
Ronan said his first priority was to get back to his accommodation and get in touch with the people at home.
“I’m going to ring home and see what the craic is. Tonight I move to the road accommodation in Fuji and start training for the Time Trial so lets park this and move on. I just want to thank all the support staff, I wanted to win a medal here to say thanks to them for their hard work. You always want more but when I reflect on it at home, I’ll be happy about it,” he said.
Ronan Grimes goes in the Time Trial on next Tuesday on 31 August at the Fuji International Speedway.
Tomorrow we have Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal in the 3000m pursuit with the qualifying starting at 2am Irish time – the final will be on at 3.47am if they succeed in going through.
Also Martin Gordon and Eamonn Byrne will go for the final in the B 1000m Time Trial at 3.08am to 3.47am Irish time.