Six and a half months after missing gold by an agonising 0.48 seconds, Ryan Mullen has made it clear his top season goal is making up for that close call by securing a World Championship title.
His near miss came at the World U-23 Time Trial Championships in Ponferrada last September, and it is something the ambitious 20-year -old has often reflected on.
"I had many, many sleepless nights after that," he said at the An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly team presentation in Ghent, Belgium. "I literally went over every corner, every straight in my head thinking where could I have found half a second."
Claiming that world title next September he says “is a huge motivation for me”.
He also wants to retain his national road race championship and try to win the European U-23 Time Trial Championships. Mullen also hopes to ride the An Post Rás for the first time, having heard much about the race.
Two more teams for that event have been announced by the organisers. Having taken third overall last year with one of its riders Nic Hamilton, the Canadian national team is returning once again with ambition. While Hamilton will not be part of the squad this time around, Cycling Canada's development coach Luc Arseneau said that Sean MacKinnon will likely be leading the team at the event.
He will be backed by four out of Alec Cowen, Edward Walsh, Adam Jamieson, William Elliot, Eric Johnstone and Aiden Caives.
The New Zealand national team is also coming back.
The Rás Mumhan, Gorey Three Day and Tour of the North races will take place this Easter weekend and should feature some great racing. Each will be keenly contested and aside from being big goals in themselves, will be seen as a pointer towards Rás form.