Irish riders off to strong start at European track championships

Women’s team pursuit quartet finish third fastest in qualifying

Irish riders got their European track championships campaign off to a strong start in Grenchen, Switzerland on Tuesday when Emily Kay, Kelly Murphy, Alice Sharpe and Mia Griffin finished third fastest in the qualifying round of the women's team pursuit. The quartet recorded a time of four minutes 21.983 seconds over the 4,000 metre distance, close to their national record of 4:21.368.

The squad includes three out of the four riders who won the women’s team pursuit in the second round of the 2021 Track Cycling Nations Cup in St Petersburg, Russia, on July 8th. They go through to the first round of the team pursuit on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Kay shrugged off the fatigue from that earlier effort to finish a solid seventh on Tuesday evening in the women's scratch race, which was won by the Briton Katie Archibald. JB Murphy performed well in the men's elimination race, finishing sixth.

Those five Irish riders comprise the team for the championships, which runs until Sunday October 9th. They will compete in a variety of events.

In related news, Sport Ireland and Cycling Ireland have welcomed news that the long-awaited indoor velodrome at the Sport Ireland campus has been confirmed in the Government’s National Development Plan 2021-2030 which was launched on Tuesday.

According to Sport Ireland, the combined velodrome and badminton centre will have a capacity of 900 spectators and will be capable of hosting both national and European events.

Ireland currently has no indoor velodrome, with riders from the national track and paracycling squads needing to train at a velodrome in Mallorca. Despite this Ireland has had several notable track performances over the years, including Martyn Irvine’s scratch world championship victory in 2013 and, in August, Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal’s silver medal in the Paralympic tandem individual pursuit.