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Ryan Mullen believes new team will make a big difference

Irish team set for action in round two of track World Cup in Manchester

Ryan Mullen: the dual Irish road race and time trial champion has signed a two-year deal with the American WorldTour team. Photograph: EPA

Having recently confirmed that he will move to the Trek-Segafredo team after two years with the Cannondale-Drapac squad, Ryan Mullen has said he believes he will step up a level in 2018.

The dual Irish road race and time trial champion signed a two-year deal with the American WorldTour team, and told The Irish Times this week that he believed it was a good step for his career.

“I’ll be on a new bike and equipment, and I think it’s going to make a big difference. It should be a lot quicker, and I’m hoping to take a few time trial wins.”

Mullen was third in the European championships, finishing just four seconds off gold, and was fifth in the 2016 World Championships. He missed out on bronze there by 11 seconds.

Mullen will target time trials and the spring Classics in 2018 and 2019, although he may well be required to ride for Trek-Segafredo teammates John Degenkolb and Jasper Stuyven. Still, he believes he can learn a lot from the duo and, at just 23 years of age, has plenty of time to have his own chances.

Meanwhile, following on from strong performances recently in the European track championships and last weekend’s round one of the track World Cup in Poland, the Irish team is in action again in round two in Manchester.

Absent will be Mark Downey, who finished fifth with Felix English in the Madison event last Saturday. He is currently ranked number one in the points race world rankings, but will not be racing in Manchester.

English will ride in the men’s omnium on Saturday, and will join up with Marc Potts in the Madison on Sunday. Potts will also compete in the men’s scratch race on Friday, and will be psyched after netting fifth in Poland.

Team pursuit squad

Lydia Gurley and Lydia Boylan will also be racing on Friday, competing in the women’s scratch and women’s omnium respectively. They will join forces in Saturday’s Madison, while a women’s team pursuit squad comprising Imogen Cotter, Mia Griffin, Hilary Hughes and Orla Walsh will line out. Shannon McCurley will also go in the women’s keirin.

On Sunday the campaign will conclude with the aforementioned English/Potts duo in the men’s Madison, plus Robyn Stewart’s participation in the women’s sprint.

At home, Cycling Ireland’s agm will take place on Saturday, starting at 11am at the Canal Court Hotel in Newry.

Finally, highlights of the An Post Rás na mBan will be available to view on the RTÉ Player for the next 12 months.