Former world track champion Martyn Irvine will take up a key role relating to an expansion of Cycling Ireland’s under-23 road programme, as announced on Wednesday.
Irvine took gold in the scratch race and silver in the individual pursuit at the track world championships in 2013 and also represented Ireland at the 2012 Olympic Games. He was lead coach for the track squad in the Tokyo Olympic Games and will now be Cycling Ireland's under-23 programme lead.
The expansion of the under-23 road programme will provide further developmental opportunities for young riders as they try to secure places on professional teams. It may also see more established riders outside the under-23 age group participating alongside them in select events, sharing their knowledge and guidance.
"This season we are targeting up to four European stage races and the Under-23 European Championships in Portugal, " said Irvine. "The events have been selected to allow riders test themselves against some quality opposition and develop the skills required to progress to top-level professional teams. We are looking forward to working together as a tight-knit group and ultimately targeting the Tour de l'Avenir if we can demonstrate that we can be competitive."
Cycling Ireland's high-performance director Iain Dyer described the transition from junior to senior as 'one of the toughest jumps' to make in the sport and said that being able to support young Irish riders in this transition was important.
“The Tour de l’Avenir is probably the biggest platform afforded to under-23s in road cycling and a potential springboard into a top team, so it’s a lofty but attainable goal. It would be great to think we might see them at a future world championships or Olympic Games.
"It's also great to see Martyn return to Cycling Ireland to lead on this programme, so we can be sure it's in safe hands."
Meanwhile, the four Irish riders in the Tour of Turkey had a low-key day on the stage to the summit finish of Manisa.
Sprint specialist Sam Bennett conserved his energy in advance of Thursday’s much flatter stage to Ayvalik. A sprint finish is the most likely outcome and after netting third on stage two, he will renew the efforts to land his first win of the season.