Ryan Mullen targets European Under-23 track title
New Irish road race champion has his eyes on Portugal
Ryan Mullen (An Post Chain Reaction) comes home to win the National Cycling Championships. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho
The new Irish road race champion Ryan Mullen has laid out the next big target on his calendar, saying that the European under-23 track championships in Portugal at the end of July is a major objective for him.
Mullen rode the championships as a first year senior last year and impressed greatly there against older competitors. He was third in the individual pursuit and scratch races, taking home two bronze medals and showing he could aim for gold in future years.
“I got two medals out of it last year, so to emulate that again this year is going to be a pretty big target,” he said. “After that it is back on the road for a couple of weeks with An Post, then on to the Under 23 road worlds championships.”
Mullen also rode that event last year. He was a fine seventh in the individual time trial and then underlined his class with a dominant showing in the under-23 Chrono des Nations event.
Given the fact that he is now a year older, Mullen can head to this year’s worlds believing a medal could be within reach. “Last year was pretty good. The course suited me, and again the course suits me this year. So I am pretty motivated for it.”
UCI rules regarding the race against the clock meant that he wasn’t eligible to take the elite title, having to settle for the under-23 victory despite being faster than elite champion Michael Hutchinson.
However the rules were different for last Sunday’s road race; he slipped clear on the penultimate lap and soloed to a dominant win.
Mullen’s track focus this month means he won’t compete in the European road championships, which run from July 9th to 13th. Instead, the team will comprise An Post team-mate Conor Dunne, as well as Daniel Steward, Eoin McCarthy, Felix English and Jack Wilson. The junior team will comprise Daire Feeley, Eddie Dunbar, Michael O’Loughlin and Stephen Shanahan.
Ireland’s campaign in the European track championships will begin on July 22nd; Mullen will race there, along with Eoin Mullen, Cormac Clarke and Shannon McCurley. Two from Dylan Foley, Javan Nutly and Thomas Fallon will also compete. The junior squad will comprise Autumn Collins, Declan Mulholland, Fintan Ryan, Josie Knight, Mark Downey and Sean Grimes.