Brian Nugent hopes for large Irish contingent at World Track Championships
Former world scratch race champion Martyn Irvine expected to race in France
Martyn Irvine: has had his season hampered by a collarbone injury. Photograph: Ciarán Fallon.
Cycling Ireland’s track coach Brian Nugent has said he is hoping Ireland will have its highest participation in several years at the World Championships. He will today learn how many riders will be awarded a place.
Cycling’s world governing body the UCI is due to provide clarification of how many riders each nation will be able to field, with qualification depending on the results of the World Cups held this season.
Former world scratch race champion Martyn Irvine is one of those expected to have a place. Irvine has been hampered this season by a broken collarbone and while that injury has healed, he is still on the back foot in terms of trying to make up for the disruption to his training and racing.
He still has four weeks until the start of the championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, and will work hard in the to try to return to top form.
Amongst the others also in the running for qualification and a possible strong performance at the worlds is Caroline Ryan, who crashed during the women’s omnium but was able to continue and place 16th. Like Irvine she too will be disappointed by that showing, but with past results such as bronze in the points race at the 2012 worlds, she has the ability to medal.
Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, Nugent said he was unable to give an exact estimation of how many places Ireland could secure in the championships due to the complicated nature of the calculations plus the number of nations involved. He said the worlds would be a good intermediate step but the medium-term goal is the 2016 Olympics.
“Our target funding from the sports grant was to qualify Martyn Irvine for the male omnium and then one other person out of the programme for the next Games,” he said.
“This year we worked with the federation to enter squads into the team pursuits and look at the long-term future for Tokyo and beyond.
“Of course we would like to go to Rio in those events too, but it is a long-term focus.”