||Last Updated: 1 Oct 2018 - 1:13:07 PM
Team Ireland went on the attack in the Men's Elite Road Race Championships in Innsbruck
Team Ireland on the Attack in Men's Elite World Road Race Championships
By Press Release
1 Oct 2018,
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Both Irish elite men's road champions infiltrated the break of the day in the gruelling 258km contest with time trial title holder Ryan Mullen joining Road Race champion Conor Dunne and nine other riders in racing clear of the peloton in the early stages.
It had been a sustained battle to establish the early move and Dunne, not for the first time in his career, showed ambition to spend much of the day out front in the biggest one-day race of the men's racing calendar.
He was joined by Mullen who knew that his best chance of featuring on a course built for climbing specialists lay in racing clear in the early stages.
The Irish duo showed the colours for more than 100km before the relentless repeat climbs of the 7km Igls took their toll and they ultimately were listed as non-finishers.
Behind, Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche nestled in the wheels waiting for the big climbing appointments to come on a day when there were eight serious climbs in a six hour marathon road racing contest in Austria's Tirol Region.
Dan Martin, whose preparation was compromised by the recent happy arrival of twin girls for himself and his partner, was left behind on the Igls climb with just over 45km remaining.
His cousin Nicolas was distanced shortly afterwards and persevered to finish 67th, 14m23s down on the new world champion Alejandro Vaverde as the only Irish finisher.
Afterwards, Conor Dunne described this year's World Championships as the "toughest" he's done as well as among the best i terms of atmosphere.
"It's definitely the toughest worlds I’ve done for sure," said Dunne. "I think the atmosphere was probably one of the best I’ve done. On that climb it was incredible. It was like doing an Alpe d’Huez every lap.
"I just wanted to finish the year on my own terms to be honest, to go out fighting. It’s been a tough month but it’s just so nice to be out front and to get all the support and to soak up the atmosphere.
"It was a tough day. It wasn’t an easy break to get in in the first place, actually. There was a big fight for it so it took a few bullets (fired) early on.
"I wanted to go deep into the race to be honest but, ah, c'est la vie, I went all in and emptied the tank.
"It was a bit of a battle at the start and me and Ryan covered the moves together so, yeah it just worked out we were both in there, to be honest. It was great to be up front with Ryan.
I'm super proud to wear the jersey. I’ve represented Ireland for eight years now so every time it’s goose pimples. It was awesome to be out front in the jersey today to soak up all the support. It was really, really special."
BATTLING PERFORMANCE FROM SHARPE IN WORLD ROAD RACE CHAMPIONSHIPS
ALICE SHARPE HAS PRODUCED A TRADEMARK BATTLING PERFORMANCE IN HER DEBUT WOMEN'S ELITE ROAD RACE AT THE WORLD ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN INNSBRUCK.
THE RACE WAS WON BY ANNA VAN DER BREGGEN OF THE NETHERLANDS.
On one of the most demanding courses used in the world championships, 24-four-year Sharpe made it all the way to final finishing lap in Innsbruck before being asked to stop by race officials, just the second rider in the field to be required to stop.
At the time, Sharpe was 84th on the road out of an entry of 149 of the world's best road racers, a fine achievement in her first year of international competition.
She had much of the field behind her cresting the summit of the first climb of the day at Anstieg after 62km and she rode back into the wheels of the lead riders in time for the first of three laps of the 23.8km finishing circuit.
Having been badly delayed before the Anstieg and endured a hard chase when she was caught behind a crash that included world time trial champion Annamiek VanVleuten, Sharpe had used much precious energy by the first of three ascents of the 7km Igls climb and she spent much of the rest of her race riding solo.
In the end, she was denied the dearly hoped-for race finish but the national road race championship medallist was satisfied that she had left everything out on the road on what was a fast-run race.
“It was an amazing atmosphere and I was just happy to be selected,” she said. “It’s been a mad year. I was kind of expecting the racing to start later on in the day because it was quite a long hard course but it felt like it went from the gun.
“When they went up the short sharp climb fast and then the first climb on the finishing circuit that just blew the whole race apart so that’s where I lost contact with the bunch and it was a long slog after that.
“The next group on the road was two minutes behind but obviously in the race you don’t actually know that so I was kind of floating around in no-man’s land for a bit trying to decide whether to hang on but I wasn’t sure of the people behind were already being pulled but I probably wasted a bit of energy there so I just carried on riding.
“It was a bit annoying (when I had to put my foot down) because it was just before the (shorter) climb but I didn’t crash so it wasn’t so bad and I got back on soon after so I can’t complain too much.
“I was a bit disappointed (to be be pulled out) but I don’t think I can expect too much from myself. It’s my first (world) championships. I think I rode as hard as I could and put everything into it. I’m pleased with my performance.
“I was a bit nervous before the start obviously its the biggest race I’ve ever done and being the only Irish girl there I just wanted to do the best performance I could but as soon as the race started there were crowds the whole way around which were amazing so even when I was suffering I was still smiling. It was just an amazing atmosphere.
“This was definitely one of the toughest races I’ve done. I said that after Glasgow that that was the hardest race but I think this might have topped it. It was definitely the highest level race that I’ve done and just to be there even vaguely competing was amazing.”
The final race on the world championship schedule is the Men's Elite Road Race tomorrow with seven tough climbs on the 258.5km route including the fearsome Gramartboten. National Road Race Champion Conor Dunne, Dan Martin, Ryan Mullen and Nicolas Roche make up Ireland's squad for the race on a course that seems suited to Martin's abilities.
Official Website: www.innsbruck-tirol2018.com
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