Due to begin his first official training camp with his new Cannondale Pro Cycling team on Friday, Ryan Mullen has said he is nervous and excited about the prospect. The 21-year-old Irishman met his team-mates at a team bonding camp last autumn, but the week-long Spanish get-together will be far more focused.
“It is obviously going to be all well-controlled, but I imagine it will probably be the hardest training camp I have done ever, now that I’m at World Tour level,” he said. “I’ll see what they get up to.”
Mullen spent two years with the semi-pro
Chainreaction squad but secured the interest of the much bigger Cannondale setup thanks to a number of strong performances.
These include his silver medal in the 2014 Under-23 World Time Trial Championships, as well as third overall in last year’s An Post Rás, fourth in the European Championship Time Trial and eighth in the European Games Time Trial.
He is regarded as one of the top young time trial prospects in the sport and his Cannondale team is intent on developing him. It previously guided Dan Martin from the amateur ranks, helping him to stage wins in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, plus victories in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia Classics. Martin has left the team and will race with Etixx- Quick-Step instead in 2016, but Mullen takes his place as the sole Irish rider.
His racing programme will begin in Mallorca later this month. He will do several semi-Classics after that, and then ride the prestigious Paris-Roubaix Classic in April.
While he will often have to ride for others in his debut season, he'll get the chance show what he can do in some week-long stage races such as the Tour of Belgium.
In other news, the national cyclo-cross championships will take place in Tollymore Forest Park on Sunday.