Archie Ryan targets next big goal after Slovakian success

Cycling Ireland announces team for Enduro Trophy of Nations

Almost two weeks on from his superb stage win in the Tour of Slovakia, Archie Ryan will tackle one of his biggest goals of the year when he lines out in the Ronde de l’Isard in France on Wednesday.

The prestigious under-23 race with an undulating 157km stage to Saverdun concludes on Sunday and features a course which Ryan believes will play to his strengths. It includes a team time-trial which should suit his Jumbo-Visma squad, two stages with summit finishes and a concluding mountain leg which features no less than four category one climbs.

“The course at l’Isard is just perfect,” Ryan told The Irish Times. He explained that he wasn’t put out by Cycling Ireland’s decision not to send a team to last week’s world championships in Australia due to budget constraints, saying that the course in the Ronde de l’Isard should suit him far better.

Ryan is just 20 years of age and is competing with the Jumbo-Visma development squad. He bounced back from a lingering knee injury to notch up a strong season this year, with his recent performances including second on a stage and fourth overall in the Tour de l’Avenir, plus the stage win, victory in the best young rider competition and a sixth overall finish in the Tour of Slovenia.


He was a guest in the latter race with the top-ranked Jumbo-Visma WorldTour squad, making an immediate impression in his first outing in the senior squad’s colours. He accepts that he may be closely marked in Ronde de l’Isard as a result.

“Slovakia and l’Avenir will have put me a bit more on the target list,” he said. “So there probably will be a bit more of a target on my back after that. Still, there is not much hiding on a course like l’Isard, so it should be fine.”

Ryan is a specialist climber and will hope for a hard race which will play to his considerable strengths.

Meanwhile Cycling Ireland has announced a strong team for the upcoming Enduro Trophy of Nations race, which takes place on October 2nd at Finale Ligure in Italy.

A total of 11 riders will compete in the event, which is the biggest team competition for the off-road Enduro discipline. Past world number one Greg Callaghan, Kelan Grant and Gary Donaldson will represent the senior men, and Ben Wilson, Brendan Conroy and Shane O’Sullivan are the under-21 men’s entries. Niamh McKiverigan (women’s solo), Hannah Mullen (under-21 women’s solo), and Masters 35+ riders Phillip Mullan, Joe Ward and Michael Cowan complete the squad.

“The team came together really easily and everybody is looking forward to racing,” said Cycling Ireland Off-Road Commission Enduro rep Al Redmond. “We’re excited to get over there, getting on the trails and representing Ireland. There’s a good buzz going around.”

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling