Martyn Irvine enthusiastic about the challenge ahead

Former world scratch race champion looking forward to season with Aqua Blue Sport

One year after he announced his retirement from international cycling, Martyn Irvine is ready to resume competition and is raring to go.

Several months ago the former world scratch race champion reversed his decision to quit the sport, signing a two-year deal with the new Aqua Blue Sport team.

It is the first-ever Irish Pro Continental squad and includes 15 other international riders in advance of its 2017 debut. These include Irvine's compatriots Matt Brammeier and Conor Dunne.

"Things have been going pretty good," Irvine told The Irish Times on Thursday.

“After the team training camp in December I stayed in Nice for an extra week, then came back the day before Christmas Eve. I’d two days at home, then went over to Girona and got in a good block of training there.”

On January 5th 2016 Irvine announced that he was retiring. He had come up short in relation to qualifying for the Rio Olympics and was disillusioned with cycling. However a week driving the press car at the An Post Rás led to a renewed interest in the sport and he started training again soon afterwards.

Mental state

This coincided with the news that Aqua Blue Sport would be launching a new pro team and he was quickly linked to a move there.

Twelve months after having had enough of the sport, he said that things have completely turned around.

“It is funny how your mental state just changes everything. A year ago I couldn’t look at the bike, and then I think I did 25, 30 hours last week in Girona. I probably could have done more.

“It is totally just about mindset. I suppose with the track programme and [missing] the Olympics, there was no real road laid out on front of me. Now there is a bit of a road laid out. I am motivated to get on it. I think that is a lot of the difference – having objectives and a good plan in place helps the mind.”

Irvine has been battling the flu this week but will be back training soon. He’s not sure yet what will be his first race, with the team still trying to finalise its early season calendar.

However he’s psyched, is fit, and says that he’s keen to get going.

“Deep down I know I have got the tools to do a good job. So I just need to do everything right this year to show that off.”

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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