Ryan Mullen making no assumptions despite favourite’s tag

‘I am a year stronger, my watts are better, my position is better and I am lighter’

Ryan Mullen (An Post Chain Reaction) making a solo effort for the win. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

Days before he is due to lineout in the world under-23 time trial championships, Ryan Mullen has said he welcomes the tag as one of the favourites but doesn't want to make predictions about the outcome.

“I don’t want to go making any assumptions. But I am obviously hoping I can improve on last year, when I was seventh,” he said. “The way I see it, I am a year stronger, my watts are better, my position is better and I am lighter.

“But it just depends on how it works out on the day. We’ll see how it is. I could have a bad day, anything could happen, I could puncture. I don’t want to put so much pressure on myself now. I just want to ride like I ride every other time trial, not get too caught up in the whole worlds pandemonium.”

Mullen is regarded as one of the world’s top time trialists in his age group. Despite being in his first year out of junior ranks, his fine seventh place in last year worlds was followed by a dominant win in the Chrono des Nations time trial.

READ MORE

This season he has continued to progress and he clocked up a number of good results, including victory in the Irish elite road-race championship and under-23 time trial. He was faster than the elite time trial winner Michael Hutchinson but, due to UCI rules, was ineligible for that gold medal.

More recently, Mullen rode the Tour of Britain. There the 20-year-old finished an excellent seventh in the final-day time trial, beating many older and more established professionals.

That suggests his form is in a very good place heading into the world championships but, again, he wants to wait and see.

“I was really motivated for the time trial,” he said. “Then I ended up pulling out a pretty good result. I just had my routine going on, what I do before every time trial. I had good legs on the day and did pretty good watts. I was up there.

“I was kind of hoping for a top 15, top 20. I didn’t expect much more than that, but then I ended up in the top 10. So I was happy.”

Mullen and junior women's time trial entrant Josie Knight will get the Irish team's campaign off to a start next Monday.

Mark Downey and Michael O'Loughlin will then do the junior men's time trial on Tuesday, with Nicolas Roche competing in the elite time trial on Wednesday.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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