Timothy goes close to medal at Paracycling Track World Championships

Irish cyclist comes fourth in the women’s C3 scratch race

Richael Timothy was best-placed of the Irish riders at the Paracycling Track World Championships in Paris on Friday, taking fourth in the women’s C3 scratch race. Timothy had finished third in Thursday’s flying 200-metres time-trial and vied for another medal in the 10km scratch race, doing much of the work during the event. She was, however, caught out by an acceleration inside the final two laps and ended up fourth.

“It was an easy enough race,” she said. “I was on the front for a good bit and probably looking back now I should’ve gone [attacked]. I might’ve had a better chance, but I think I thought there was longer left then there actually was, so it’s probably my own fault, really.”

She will contest the 3km individual pursuit on Saturday, the final event of her campaign. Having set two national records on Thursday in netting third in the flying 200m time-trial and sixth in the 500m time-trial, she sees the bigger picture.

“I think I’ve done better than what I had expected, I suppose, time-wise. In the scratch race I had obviously hoped to medal in that, and I came as close as I could have. It’s been really good, it’s good to get the chance to race. I like the velodrome here so hopefully tomorrow will go well.”


C2 competitor Chris Burns set another new national record on Friday, improving his own previous mark by two seconds in recording a time of one minute 14.383 in the 1km time-trial. That was the fifth fastest time in qualification and he finished in the same position in the finals.

He also set a new national record on Thursday en route to taking a fine third in the flying 200m time-trial. Those two performances put him a strong position to challenge for a medal in the omnium, of which the 1km and flying 200m time-trials are two of the four counting events.

“It was a very positive and consistent performance,” he said. “I’m just going out to be consistent and hopefully improve that a little bit but we got the consistency and we’re still in the shout for the omnium, so it’s all still to play for.

“Yesterday’s events gave me good confidence going into today. I was really surprised I beat my own Irish record by two seconds, it was a big chunk to take off that so I’m over the moon with that.”

Meanwhile, Ireland’s silver medallist in the C4 individual pursuit on Thursday made a big bid to take gold on Friday afternoon, with Ronan Grimes putting in another powerful performance.

Grimes went on the attack very early in the 15 kilometre scratch race event, going clear with the New Zealand rider Devon Briggs and going tantalisingly close to lapping the bunch, something which would have set the duo up for a two-up battle for gold. However, the peloton accelerated before the junction was made and the duo slipped back, eventually being reeled in 35 laps from the end.

Undaunted, European and world road-race champion Grimes launched a big solo move with 17 laps remaining and built a decent advantage over the peloton. However, he was reeled in with two laps to go and finished eighth in the sprint to the line.

“It was a 60-lap race and I think from the gun I tried an effort with the Kiwi rider, and we got so close to gaining a lap,” he said. “I’d say we were 10 metres [away] before the wheels started to fall off … 10 metres from catching the bunch and it [the gap] just went out and out. So, we were away for I think 15 or 20 laps.

“I came back in the bunch, and I gave it another go again by myself. I don’t know how many laps I was away, maybe another 10 or 15 and got caught with two to go. I came nowhere in the end; I tried my hardest.”

His all-or-nothing approach may not have worked out on this occasion, but launching two strong, ambitious moves shows how far Grimes has progressed physically and mentally this year. “I had good fun today. I went all in for the win and unfortunately, I didn’t come away with anything, but I enjoyed it at least,” he said.

Four other Irish riders were in action on Friday. Men’s tandem duo Martin Gordon and Eoin Mullen had a solid debut racing together in the 1km tandem time-trial, setting a time of one minute 3.239 seconds to finish seventh. They narrowly missed out on a place in the finals.

Damien Vereker and Marcin Mizgajski also competed in the same event, setting a time of one minute 6.717 seconds for 11th place.

Paralympic tandem champions Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal had been due to compete in the WB individual pursuit on Friday but were unable to do so. Dunlevy became ill earlier in the week and the duo were consequently forced to cancel their participation in the event.

Remaining events for Irish team at paracycling track world championships in Paris:

Saturday 22nd

WC3 3km individual pursuit qualifying: Richael Timothy

MB 4km individual pursuit qualifying: Damien Vereker and Marcin Mizgajski

MC2 3km individual pursuit qualifying: Chris Burns

MC4 1km time-trial qualifying: Ronan Grimes

Sunday 23rd

MB sprint qualification: Martin Gordon and Eoin Mullen

MC2 15km scratch race: Chris Burns

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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