Ryan Mullen motivated for Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix
Irish racing cyclist gearing up to make his mark for his new Trek-Segafredo team
Ryan Mullen during the fifth stage of the Tour of Algarve between Faro and Alto do Malhao last month Photograph: Filipe Amorim/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Irish pro racing cyclist Ryan Mullen will line out this Sunday in what will be his second edition of the Tour of Flanders. The Irish road race and time trial champion made his debut last year and is psyched to perform well for his new Trek-Segafredo team.
Mullen rode Milan-San Remo, E3 Harelbeke and Wednesday’s Dwars Door Vlaanderen as part of his build-up and believes he is where he needs to be. “I had some problems after San Remo but now I feel like I’m going well,” he told The Irish Times on Thursday.
“I rode well yesterday and had good legs. Sadly, I was just caught in the wrong side of a split in the wind in a crucial moment for positioning, which kind of put an early end to my ambitions of being there in the final to help [team leaders] John Degenkolb and Jasper Stuyven. ”
Mullen will be required to help both in Sunday’s Flanders race, and will likely play a support role again in next Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix. The latter is a race where he believes he could perform strongly in the future, and gaining experience now is important.
“Looking ahead to Roubaix, which will be my third time starting, I’m really excited,” he said. “I feel much stronger than last year and each Classic I ride I gain more experience and confidence. I feel like I’m in a good place physically and mentally for these Classics.”
Mullen previously raced with the Cannondale-Drapac squad and said in the autumn that a key reason for his move to Trek-Segafredo was because he believed the time trial bike would be faster. He is a former silver medallist in the world under-23 championships and has the ability to win a world title in the future. Thus far the signs are encouraging that he is quicker on the new machine: he won the time trial at the Vuelta a San Juan in January.
Kerry Group Rás Mumhan
At home, the Kerry Group Rás Mumhan begins on Friday with a 100km stage starting and finishing in Killorglin and taking in Sliabh Luachra. The field for the four-day event will comprise 190 riders, drawing from 38 teams from Ireland, England and the Netherlands.
Across the border, the four-day Dixon Contractors Tour of North begins with in Ballymena on Friday, while the Gorey Three Day begins Saturday in Blessington, with the opening stage running 103km to Gorey.