Ryan Mullen hoping for Grand Tour debut in Giro d’Italia

Over 120 groups have now called for start of 2018 Giro to be moved from Israel

Ireland’s  Ryan Mullen:  ““I don’t know my programme yet. We have a team camp in December, where I guess we will get the race programme.” Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Ireland’s Ryan Mullen: ““I don’t know my programme yet. We have a team camp in December, where I guess we will get the race programme.” Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

 

Heading to the Trek-Segafredo team after two years with another American squad Cannondale Drapac, Ryan Mullen wants to move his career to a new level in 2018. The 23-year-old Irish road race and time-trial champion is yet to ride a three-week race, and hopes that will change next season.

“I don’t know my programme yet. We have a team camp in December, where I guess we will get the race programme,” he told The Irish Times. “But as far as I know I will be doing the Classics and maybe the Giro. Maybe. I’d like to think I would be doing it with the time trial at the start, but who knows.”

Mullen is one of the most promising young time trialists in the sport. He highlighted his ability in 2014 when he finished just 0.48 seconds off a gold medal in the world under-23 TT championships, and has continued to impress since then. He was fifth in the elite World Championships last season, and this year took third in the European Championships. He was just four seconds off gold there.

“The Giro next year is pretty decent because it starts with a 26km time trial,” he said. “So it could be my only shot at holding a Grand Tour leader’s jersey if it goes well. We will see how that goes.”

That target aside, Mullen knows that riding a Grand Tour should bring on his form and help him progress to the next level. He has got big time-trial targets for the future, and is aware that having one or more three-week races in his legs will add to his power.

Meanwhile, the 2018 Giro start in Israel has come under pressure with the news that over 120 groups have called on organisers RCS Sport to move the race to another location.

This week the European Co-ordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine sought to ratchet up the pressure in a statement about the groups protesting at the race location.

Wrong signals

It said that holding the race there would send out the wrong signals. “The signatories stress that holding the Giro d’Italia in Israel will both cover up Israel’s military occupation and discrimination against Palestinians, and increase Israel’s sense of impunity, encouraging continued denial of Palestinians’ UN-stipulated rights.”

Signatories include linguist Noam Chomsky, who has been a political voice for decades; former United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Palestinian rights John Dugard and Richard Falk; Italian playwright Moni Ovadia; European Parliament members Eleonora Forenza and Sergio Cofferati; and former vice-president of the European Parliament Luisa Morgantini.

Simultaneously, Palestinian civil society groups have written to Pope Francis urging him to reject the invitation from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to launch the race in Israel.

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