Irish Para-cycling Team Continue To Build Towards Paris

Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal in action

The Irish Para-cycling Track Team were in action at the 2024 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil competing from Wednesday March 20th through to Sunday, March 24th. 

11 riders took to the track racking up numerous top ten placings. The team were unlucky not to come home with any medals, but they added valuable UCI ranking points which may prove crucial for Paralympic qualification. 

Cycling Ireland National Para-cycling Coach Jamie Blanchfield said: 

"As we expected, every Nation has lifted its level in Paralympic year. Rio has been an insightful benchmarking event for us, and it is clear where we need to focus our efforts in preparation for Paris. 
“Overall, we were consistent and secured a good spread of ranking points through the different races and classes, male and female, which should keep us on track to qualify a good team size for the Paralympics. 
“The remaining two counting events for Paris qualification - two UCI Road World Cups - happen in May so the riders will be knuckling down to a big block of training now to progress their road fitness to be competitive for these important final two races."

Richael Timothy got her week off to a great start qualifying for the final in the Women’s C3 500m Time Trial on Wednesday, she followed up with a sixth-place finish in the final on Wednesday afternoon. 

Showing great consistency throughout the week, Timothy claimed fifth in the Women’s C3 Individual Pursuit Final on Friday. 

Timothy finished fifth in the Women’s C3 Omnium, with just 6 six points separating her from the bronze medal. The Omnium included the 500m, Individual Pursuit, 200m and the Scratch Race. 

Timothy said:

“It is clear that the bar has been raised again since last year, with all eyes on the Paris Paralympic Games this summer. Personally, I felt that I gave my all but definitely have areas to work on ahead of the last two World Cup Qualifiers. Onto a big training block for April!” 

Chris Burns began the championships with a top ten finish in the Men’s C2 Individual Pursuit qualifying in the morning session Wednesday. 

An excellent ride on Saturday in the Men’s C2 1km Time Trial qualifying say Burns progress to the final on Saturday afternoon where he finished sixth. 

Competing in the Men’s C2 Omnium Burns finished sixth overall after adding valuable points when coming home in third place in the 200m Flying Start. 

Burns told Cycling Ireland: 

“It was a very positive World Championships and very consistent with the previous Worlds in Glasgow. Looking forward to building towards Paris.”

Following up on his eighth place finished in Heat 1 of the Men’s C4 Scratch Race Qualification, Ronan Grimes finished sixth in the final on Friday. 

On Thursday, Grimes was seventh in the Men’s C4 Individual Pursuit Qualifying, with very little separating fifth, sixth and seventh place. 

On Saturday, Grimes narrowly missed out on a top ten finish in the Men’s C4 1km Time Trial qualifying. Adding to the tally of top ten finishes for Ireland, Grimes was seventh in the Men’s C4 Omnium. 

In the Women’s B 1km Time Trial Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal booked their spot in the final with a fifth-place finish in qualifying. Gaining valuable experience on the track, Josephine Healion and Linda Kelly were 11th in qualifying. 

In the Time Trial final Dunlevy and McCrystal finished in fifth. The pair continued to build on their success, in the Women’s B Individual Pursuit Dunlevy and McCrystal progressed to race against Poland in the battle for bronze. 

Also building from their performance earlier on in the week Healion and Kelly finished seventh in qualifying. 

Otylia Marczuk and Ewa Bańkowska for Poland came out victorious in the race for the bronze medal against Dunlevy and McCrystal. There was very little to separate the two bikes, Poland coming home in 3:26:024 and Ireland in 3:26:334. 

On Friday, Martin Gordon and Eoin Mullen booked their place in the final of the Men’s B 1km Time Trial final. Damien Vereker and Mitchell McLoughlin may not have qualified for the final but they put in a strong performance in qualifying. 

The final took place in the afternoon session on Friday where Gordon and Mullen were sixth overall. 

Continuing the streak of top ten finishes, Vereker and McLaughlin were ninth in the Men’s B Individual Pursuit qualifying. 

Returning home from the championships, McLaughlin said: 

"It’s good to be competitive against the same competition that we will be facing in Paris. The level is extremely high at the moment and it has been a good opportunity to gage where we’re currently at leading into the coming months. We are in a good place at the moment as we turn our attention to the road in May."

Full results from the Para-cycling Track World Championships are available here.