Ulster Cycling News

Two Bronze Medals For ParaCycling Team

The female tandem of Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal  won bronze in the Women's B 3km Individual Pursuit at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands today. In the ride-off for bronze their time of 3.39.549 was faster than GB's time of 3.39.650 by .101 second after an exciting race which saw Ireland pull ahead in the closing metres. New Zealand took the gold medal with silver going to Japan. This adds to the bronze medal won by Eoghan Clifford yesterday in the Men's C3 Pursuit, and Colin Lynch's fine fourth place position. In the men's pursuit this morning Peter Ryan and Damien Shaw finished in 8th place in a time of 4.30.903 in the M B 4km Pursuit. The Championships are running from Thursday 26th March until Sunday 29th March.

Although the Irish duo qualified for the bronze medal final as the faster bike, the British pairing of Lora Turnham and Lauryn Therin took the early lead and held a 1.4 second margin for the majority of the race. With two laps to go Ireland started pulling back, before grabbing the medal on the line. Dunlevy was delighted with the win "We had a good ride  earlier in the qualifiers, so stuck to the same game plan, and stayed controlled and on top of the gear. It's such a blur; we didn't know how close it was until the bang at the end." McCrystal added that "Neill's (Delahaye - Coach) tone on the last lap suggested we get a move on. I don't remember the last lap; I've no recollection at all."

Dunlevy and McCrystal result is all the more impressive considering Dunlevy has just recovered from an injury "Up until 6 weeks ago I was on crutches, in January I tore three ligaments in my ankle and ruptured one. The last few months have been really hard coming back from that, but I trained smart, stayed positive and worked hard on rehab. When I got back on the track I saw improvements every day, so used that positivity as a drive today. I've also had great support from my teammates, from Eve, from my family and friends and from Neill and Cycling Ireland. If someone said to me six weeks ago I'd be on the podium...."  McCrystal was really impressed with her partner's determination saying "I'm delighted with the result, but especially for Katie after her injury. She has been fantastic; and really delivered today. It's also nice to get one back on the British bike. We beat them by the same margin as they got us in the road worlds." At the Road World Championships last August the Irish tandem were just edged out of the World Title by the GB bike, and had to settle for silver.

Tomorrow is the last day of racing, and Lynch and Clifford will be in action in the Men's C1-2-3 Scratch Race, a relatively new race on the Paracycling race programme. Competition began in the Apeldoorn Velodrome on Thursday 26th March and will continue until Sunday the 29th March, with all competitions taking place during the day.

Eoghan Clifford has won a bronze medal in the Men's C3 3km Individual Pursuit at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands today. The Galway based rider made his track cycling debut at Newport just 6 weeks ago and qualified as the third fastest rider in the Individual Pursuit earlier today, in a time of 3.39.945. In the race for bronze Clifford faced Russia's Sergey Ustinov, and was pushed hard for the first half of the race, before pulling ahead to win by almost 2 seconds.  In the Men's C2 3km Individual Pursuit Colin Lynch finished in fourth place, with the bronze medal going to Arslan Gilmutdinov of Russia. The Championships run from Thursday 26th March until Sunday 29th March.

Racing opposite Ustinov in the final Clifford started steady, and confidently pushed through in the last kilometre "The Russian rider pushed me very hard in the final, and I only got ahead in the last kilometre, I tend to start slow, and am lucky that I recover well between efforts. In Newport I went faster in the final than in the qualifying round, so it was very positive knowing that I can do two similar times, or a better time, so close together. We were hoping for better times, but compared to Newport the times are slower, but probably at the time we underestimated the track, it wasn't as fast as people thought, as only two went faster than me. The support team here has been great, so professional. Like I was disappointed this morning and they really picked me up so I was in great form for the final."

Clifford, who is the reigning World Champion in both the Road Race and the Time Trial, is new to the track, making a bronze medal in the World Championships even more impressive "I was first on the track in January, and had my first race in Newport in February, so it's been a big learning curve, learning how the track works."

Lynch finished fourth in the C2 Pursuit, with the Gilmutdinov taking the bronze. After achieving a sea level personal best time this morning in the qualifying round, the hour turn around to the final did not allow enough recovery for him "This morning I had a good ride, and then in the final I did everything to plan, I rode as well as could be expected, but the only thing is with the really short turnover in time it didn't give me enough time to recover. I'm disappointed that I couldn't give the performance I'm usually capable of in the final. Fourth is still fourth in the world, it's just when your sight is on the podium, it's that bit more disappointing."

Lynch and Clifford will compete again on Sunday in the Scratch Race. While this is a bunch race competition that has been in the World Championships since 2012, it is the first year that Ireland will compete. Lynch said "This is something new and different, the idea is to race safe and smart, it could be carnage."

Heather Boyle.

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