Ulster Cycling News

Clifford Wins Gold at Apeldorn

 Eoghan Clifford has won the World Title in the Men's C1-2-3 Scratch Race at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands today. This adds to the Bronze medal that the reigning Road and Time Trial World Champion won in the Pursuit event on Friday. Clifford rode a strong race keeping the pace high in the earlier stages, before attacking with about 25 laps remaining, and lapping the field. The silver medal went to Joseph Berenyi (USA) and bronze to Eduardo Santas Asensio (ESP). Colin Lynch was also competing with Clifford in this event, but suffered from a puncture in the closing laps when he was forced to retire from the race. The Championships are running from Thursday 26th March until Sunday 29th March.

Clifford burst onto the international Paracycling scene last summer, when he won both the Road and Time Trial World Titles at the Paracycling Road World Championships in the USA, and competed on the track for the first time this February, after being introduced to the track in January. However, the seasoned Galway based road racer put his experience to use by making a perfectly timed move in the Scratch Race "I stayed near the back for the first few laps, but when the attacks started after 5-6 laps I knew my legs were good. I'm not an explosive rider so I rode high on the track so I could cover moves, and when the pace died I put in a good hard dig to tire out people. With about 25 laps to go I put in one big huge attack when I saw the main guys boxed in, and I just kept going.  That was a long 25 laps! Once I caught the main group I rode through to the front to keep out of danger and keep an eye on the rest."

This was Clifford's first ever Scratch Race, and he attributed his tactical awareness to video work and preparation he did with 2014 Madison World Champion David Muntaner (Esp) who lives in Majorca, the track base for the Irish team "One of the most worthwhile sessions I did was one evening when I sat with David and watched the scratch race, and he gave me some great advice that I stuck with today. We spent the evening watching the scratch race and understanding how it works and talking through different scenarios. He gave me great advice saying that when you go for it, go for it. Put everything into your move. It was really great, because I couldn't get enough time on the track."

This brings to an end another fantastic World Championships for the Irish Paracycling Team, who won a gold medal and two bronze medals. Clifford was happy at the end of the successful weekend saying "We've had a great worlds; I'm delighted for everyone here. I couldn't have asked for better support than Neill, Gerry, Tommy and Johnny, with it being my first time on the track it was great having these guys behind me. It was also great to have my family over here earlier in the week; I really hope they saw it online today."

The successful Irish team arrive back in Dublin Airport tomorrow (Monday) evening at 17.20 on Aer Lingus Flight EI 609 into Terminal 2.

Heather Boyle

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