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Shane Stokes
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OTHER CYCLING : Track Racing : Shane Stokes Last Updated: 2 Apr 2018 - 8:45:17 PM

IRVINE AND RYAN BEGIN WORLD TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS THURSDAY
By Shane Stokes
5 Apr 2012,

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Irish riders Martyn Irvine and Caroline Ryan will today (Thursday) begin their world track championships campaign, with Irvine looking to seal his place in the London Olympics with a strong performance.

Competing in the multi-event Omnium discipline, he finished fifth in the European championships last October, and since then has taken fifth, fifth and ninth in rounds of the track World Cup in Cali, Beijing and London.

He has said that he has prepared well and is targeting a medal. “I'm happy where I'm at and aiming for the podium,” he told Irishcycling.com yesterday. “I’ve been here a while now…the hardest thing was getting over the jet lag. The last week has been an necessary evil really; don't train to much, don't train to little and, most of all, don't eat too much.”

The qualification round and the first three out of the six events will take place today, Thursday, with the remainder on Friday.

Ryan will also start racing today, competing in the points race. She will also do the individual pursuit on Sunday. Last year she took top ten finishes in the individual pursuit at the world championships, and has done likewise in rounds of the track World Cup. She, like Irvine, has performed well in training in the buildup to the championships.

“My preparation leading into Worlds couldn't have gone better,” she told Irishcycling.com on Wednesday. “After London World Cup I spent a month in Mallorca training with Martyn Irvine. Everything has gone well since we arrived into Melbourne and got settled into the track.

“I have great form right now. I'm fit, strong and healthy and I'm going the fastest I've ever gone. Ireland also qualified a slot for the points race so as I'm here racing the individual pursuit I'm lucky enough to get to race that too. The points is my second event by far but it will be great experience and a good opener for the pursuit on Sunday. The main thing is that my pursuiting is going so well and I'm looking forward to getting my best performance out in that.”

The team is completed by Australian-based Shannon McCurley, who will compete in the women’s scratch race on Friday.

ANDY SPARKS' OPINION:

Former US Olympic coach Andy Sparks, who has worked with both Irvine and Ryan, said that he was pleased with how things are at this point in time. “Cycling Ireland got us here with enough time to have a true peak performance and we have been seeing some great times come out of this early arrival. Both Caroline and Martyn have seen personal best times in our pre-race metrics such as standing start and flying two kilometer efforts,” he told Irishcycling.com.

“Caroline’s training in Mallorca over the last month has been really faultless. She has worked super hard with our Performance United women’s training group which currently includes Sarah Hammer (USA), Jennie Reed (USA) and Sofia Arreola (Mexico). The ladies have been working hard for two to three workout s a day and I think the results will illustrate this commitment to hard work they all made. Caroline will be making some massive gains over the 3K pursuit time she road in London 4 weeks ago. She is on great form.

“Martyn continues to get stronger and stronger and has had a laser beam focus the last four weeks as he has one last box to tick before he gets his final ticket to London. There is nothing Martyn could have done better in his preparation. He gave 100% every day in the workouts and also worked 100% on recovery.”

Irvine has made considerable progress and is banging on the door of a medal result. Sparks said that his ability is being noticed. “Three different coaches came up to me after the points race in London and that their riders were all commenting on Martyn ripping their legs off. I expect the same in Melbourne. The day that Martyn gets everything right on one day (timed events AND mass-start races) is the day he gets his picture on the podium. His perfect day would end up in a new jersey!”

It’s clear that the 26 year old has made an impression on him. “Martyn continues to impress me every day, especially when I look back on where we started this journey almost two years ago,” he explained. “People see the unbelievably strong Martyn now, but not many people outside of Ireland know that last year was his first year doing the bunch racing. Martyn Irvine has worked harder than anyone in the world over the last two years to qualify for the Olympics. No one deserves it more.

"Only eight individual male endurance riders will be going to the Olympics from Europe. Martyn will become one of those eight because he is a tough, tough man who works hard, never gives up and wants to make those around him proud. He has made me very proud and Ireland could not ask for a better ambassador to be wearing an Irish Olympic jersey.”

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