Darren Rafferty best of the Irish so far at world road championships

‘I would have loved a top 10 today but I just didn’t have enough to get there’

Darren Rafferty during the UCI Road World Championships, racing from Knokke-Heist to Bruges. Photograph: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Darren Rafferty during the UCI Road World Championships, racing from Knokke-Heist to Bruges. Photograph: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

 

Darren Rafferty finished 11th quickest in the junior time trial at cycling’s world road championships on Tuesday, taking the highest finish thus far of the Irish team’s campaign.

Danish rider Gustav Wang was quickest, covering the 22.4 kilometre distance in 25 minutes 37 seconds. Britain’s Joshua Tarling was 20 seconds back in the silver medal position while Alec Segaert of Belgium was a further nine seconds back in third.

Rafferty’s performance was a very solid one, but he indicated he had hoped to have placed higher. He finished fourth in the junior time trial at the European continental championships on September 8th, two seconds off bronze. The rider who took that medal, Eddy le Huitouze (France), finished fifth in today’s event.

“I’m feeling pretty good. I would have loved a top 10 today but I just didn’t have enough to get there,” he said. However he could see a positive side. “I’m definitely satisfied with 11th as the preparation and planning up to the event was perfect, and it gives me plenty of confidence going into the (road) race on Friday which will be a long and tough 122k.”

Rafferty was one minute and six seconds behind Wang’s winning time. Ireland’s Conal Scully was also in action, netting 53rd.

Ireland’s world championships campaign continues on Friday, beginning what will be three days of road races.

The junior men and under-23 men are both in action on Friday. Rafferty and Skully join up with Ronan O’Connor and Dean Harvey in the junior event, while Ben Healy, Dillon Corkery and Adam Ward ride the under-23 race.

Meanwhile Cycling Ireland has confirmed that there will be no replacement for Sam Bennett in Sunday’s Elite road race. Bennett had been due to line out with Eddie Dunbar, Rory Townsend and Ryan Mullen, but withdrew on Tuesday morning saying his form is not yet good enough to do such a tough event.

He was sidelined in early June with a knee injury and forced to miss the Tour de France, but recently returned to competition.

World road championships, Belgium

Junior time trial, Knokke-Heist to Bruges: 1 Gustav Wang (Denmark) 22.4 kilometres in 25 mins 37, 2 J Tarling (Britain) at 20, 3 A Segaert (Belgium) at 29, 4 C F Bevort (Denmark) at 30, 5 E le Huitouze (France) at 33.

Other: 11 D Rafferty (Ireland) at 1 min 6, 53 C Scully (Ireland) at 2 mins 28.

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