Solid Day For Ireland As Mullen And Rafferty Impress At UCI Cycling World Championships
Adam Rafferty competing in the Men's Junior Time Trial (Image by SWpix)
Ireland enjoyed another positive day at the UCI Cycling World Championships, which included more consistent performances in the time trial events at the Road World Championships.
Ryan Mullen and Adam Rafferty were the big performers as they took impressive results in the Elite Men and Junior Men time trials respectively.
Mullen picked up an impressive 19th place after taking to the start early in the day, spending much of the race on the provisional podium – only leaving the hot seat as the big favourites came in late in the afternoon.
A 47.8km course presented a stern test for many in Stirling and Mullen’s time of 58:21.57 saw him finish over three minutes down on Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel at the line.
Ryan Mullen said:
“It was long, hard and windy. I feel like I judged it quite well because I didn’t fade, and I was able to have enough left in the brain to consciously back off the last few kms before the climb to here (the finish). I just emptied myself across the line and I was caught (by the Ireland soigneur) before I hit the ground!”
Ben Healy also put in a strong performance to finish 26th, just under 12 seconds behind Mullen as the duo briefly enjoyed a stint on the provisional podium together.
After a brutal road race last Sunday, Healy was happy with his performance and encouraged by the pair's rides on the world stage.
Ben Healy said:
“I’ve been suffering a little bit after the road race, so I came into the TT not knowing what to expect. I set out pretty steadily but I actually had some gas to give. I finished pretty strongly and did a good performance. Maybe not the best result on paper but I can be pleased with my performance. It’s good to see us (me and Ryan Mullen) doing well – seven seconds again like Nationals – it's just good to see us both going well.”
Earlier in the day, the Junior Men’s Time Trial saw Adam Rafferty and Liam O’Brien put in stellar performances to finish among the leading contenders.
Rafferty powered around the 22.8km course in 29:27.88 just 58 seconds down on gold medal winner Oscar Chamberlain placing 8th overall. The National Champion put in a strong second half to finish 3rd provisionally and a top ten finish in 8th place in the overall standings.
O’Brien also had an impressive performance finishing in 11th place, completing the course in 29:47.10, a strong result for the Fermoy CC rider – who set the early benchmark – spending an extended time on the provisional podium.
Adam Rafferty said:
“The first 10km on the main road, I just got the head down and focused on being aero. I got pretty much bang on my pacing for the first 10km while I was just holding back that bit, because I knew it was the next intermediate that would make the difference so just started hurting after the first intermediate, just taking the pain and then taking a rest where I could."
“I don’t think I’ve ever ridden that hard in a time trial in my life and in the villages, it was lovely hearing all the people out supporting. And yeah, then it was just a suffer-fest until I saw that 1km to go flag and the adrenaline really just hit, I could see the rider in front of me, I did end up catching them and it was great I was able to sit in the big ring because I was riding a 52-11.”
“I think it was about 500m to go when you turn the corner onto the cobbles and the crowd just hits you. The adrenaline is amazing, I’ve never felt anything like it.”
Liam O’Brien said:
“Yeah it was a good race, good to get on the hot seat for a while and spent a good bit of time on that. It was quite a crosswind on the way out, so it was just about pushing along there and trying to save a bit for that last climb, and it was a good ride. I could hear people shouting out my name along parts of the course, it was quite nice.”
Allister MacSorley and Declan Slevin were the sole Irish riders competing at the Para-Cycling Road World Championships today in Dumfries as attention switched to road racing with the handcycle road races in full focus today.
MacSorley was up first, competing in the MH4 race, completing four laps totaling 62.4km. MacSorley battled to a top 20 finish on a gruellng circuit. In the final lap, MacSorley dug deep to gain three positions to secure a place in the top 20, finishing in 18th place.
Competing in his first World Championships, MacSorley has gained a lot of experience from the event.
Allister MacSorley said:
“I was sitting 21st at the start of the last lap and I picked off three places, I think I came across the line there in 18th so yeah, finishing inside the top 20 is a lot better than finishing outside it and a couple of points towards Paris (Paralympic Games), a very miniscule amount but either way I’ve got to take the positives out of it but certainly out of this week there has been a lot of learning and for my first World Championships you know I feel like it can only get better.”
The MH3 was the last race of the day with Slevin flying the flag for Ireland. No stranger to racing in the international scene, Slevin finished 21st in what was a brutal race, with tough headwinds.
After the race, Slevin looked back on a tough race but is happy with his performance.
Declan Slevin said:
“Well, that was a tough race. It took off hard from the start, as always the H3’s do, you just have to be ready for a big attack, but when we got out onto the straight there was a headwind and I was a couple of places back so three or four of us were trying to catch back on and then we caught back on with the headwind, came round the right hand corner heading for the hill and it just all fell asunder. I got into a group of four of five bikes then, and finished out the race with them and tried for a good sprint in the end, but happy enough with how it went with my power and how the race went.”
A packed schedule of racing lies ahead tomorrow across the Para-cycling Road, Road, BMX and Cross-country with multiple Irish athletes in action.
Results - Friday, 11th August
Men H4 Road Race: Allister MacSorley - 18th
Men H3 Road Race: Declan Slevin - 21st
Men Junior Time Trial: Adam Rafferty - 8th | Liam O'Brien - 11th
Men Elite Time Trial: Ryan Mullen - 19th | Ben Healy - 26th
Schedule – Saturday, 12th August
15:30 Men Elite Olympic: Chris Dawson
08:45 Men C4 Road Race: Ronan Grimes
11:15 Men C3 Road Race: William Clifford
11:17 Men C2 Road Race: Chris Burns
13:45 Men B Road Race: Damien Vereker & Mitchell McLaughlin
13:47 Women B Road Race: Katie George Dunlevy & Linda Kelly |Josephine Healion & Eve McCrystal
16:47 Women C3 Road Race: Richael Timothy
11:30 Men U23 Road Race: Jamie Meehan, Aaron Wade, Darren Rafferty, Dean Harvey, Odhran Doogan
14:15 Men Junior Round 1: Danny O'Gorman (Times yet to be posted)
18:00 Men Junior 1/8 Final *Qualification Dependent
14:15 Men Elite Round 1: Matthew Malone (Times yet to be posted)
18:00 Men Elite 1/8 Final *Qualification Dependent