The Irish team pursuit squad finished a superb fourth at the UCI Tissot Track Nations Cup in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday, continuing its impressive recent progress in the event.
The team was seventh-quickest in Tuesday’s qualification round but then went a staggering eight seconds faster in Wednesday morning’s first round, with their time of four minutes 23.637 seconds seeing them defeat the English team by more than six seconds.
That put them into the bronze medal final against Germany. The latter started as big favourites due to a round one time that was almost six seconds better than that of the Irish team, but the quartet of Lara Gillespie, Mia Griffin, Kelly Murphy and Alice Sharpe had more to give.
They further improved on their morning time with a time of four minutes 23.238, some 0.399 faster. In contrast the Germans slowed by over half a second, but still had enough in hand to take the bronze medal.
Their final time was four minutes 18.324 seconds.
The Irish riders have broken their national record three times in the past five weeks, a remarkable run of improvement. Doing so again in Cairo was practically impossible as the velodrome is partially exposed to the elements, but beating Britain in round one earlier on Wednesday and finishing fourth in the competition is a superb result and one which will give great encouragement.
Also in action on Wednesday were JB Murphy and Erin Creighton. They contested the men’s and women’s elimination races respectively, finishing 15th and 16th.
Murphy will be back in action on Thursday in the men’s multi-discipline Omnium event, while Sharp and Gillespie will contest the women’s Madison.
At home, the first of seven rounds of this year’s Cycling Ireland National Road Series will take place in Blarney, Cork, with the holding of the Donal Crowley Memorial on Sunday March 26th.
That will be followed by two rounds in April, the Des Hanlon Memorial in Carlow on April 2nd and the Brian O’Loughlin Memorial in Cong three weeks later, plus subsequent rounds in June, July and August. These will be hosted by clubs in Meath, Kerry, Westmeath and Down.
Matthew Teggart and Gabriele Glodenyte won last year’s men’s and women’s series, run off over five separate rounds.
2023 Cycling Ireland National Road Series
Round 1: Donal Crowley Memorial, Cork, Sunday, March 26th (Blarney Cycling Club)
Round 2: Des Hanlon Memorial, Carlow, Sunday, April 2nd (Carlow RCC)
Round 3: Brian O’Loughlin Memorial, Mayo, Sunday, April 23rd (Cunga CC)
Round 4: Sean Nolan Meath Grand Prix, Meath, Sunday, June 4th (Navan Road Club)
Round 5: John Drumm Cup, Kerry, Sunday, June 11th (Currow CC)
Round 6: Mullingar Grand Prix, Westmeath, Sunday, July 16th (Lakeside Wheelers)
Round 7: Alan Towell Memorial, Down, Saturday, August 19th (Banbridge CC)