Paralympic Squad at Track World Cup : Report
Just 0.074 of a second is all that separated the Irish Female Tandem pairing of Catherine Walsh and her pilot Caroline Ryan from the gold medal in the 3km Pursuit at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester today. The girls were drawn to ride off for the gold medal against the current World and Olympic Champion British cyclist Aileen McGlynn and her pilot Vicky Begg in what turned out to be the closest fought race of the event.
The British girls started out strongly and gained a lot of ground in the first lap but slowly and surly the Irish girls pegged back the time until the nothing seemed to separate them going in to the last lap and it needed the electronic timing to show the crowd who had actually taken the title which gave it to the British bike by a whisker. The winning time was 3:44.355 and Catherine & Caroline’s time was 3:44.429. A truly great performance from Catherine and Caroline which is all the more awesome considering Caroline has only recently transferred from international rowing to cycling and was flown in from Dublin early in the morning to replace Joanna Hickey who picked up an injury during warm up for the 1Km Time Trial on Friday.
But the success did not end there, the Irish Male Tandem pairing of Michael Delaney and his pilot Con Collis secured double Bronze medals for Ireland when setting new Irish Records in both the 200m Sprint Competition and the 4kn Individual Pursuit Competition. In the Bronze medal Match Sprint ride against the tandem from the Netherlands they won two straight matches responding to every attack and even when the Dutch tandem slipped inside them at one stage the managed to round them again and left them in their wake as the sprinted for the line. The new Irish Record time was set at 11.367. The British took both Silver and Gold.
Just a short time earlier Michael and Con set a new Irish Record time of 4:40.414 in the 4Km Pursuit a full 4 seconds better than the old record and good enough to secure a second Bronze Medal for the Irish duo.
Other good performances from the Irish Squad included 5th place finish by Male LC1 cyclist Cathal Miller in the 4km Pursuit in a time of 5:00.748 and 8th place in the 1km Time Trial in a time of 1:12.026.
CP4 Cyclist Enda Smyth finished in 6th place in the 3km Pursuit in a time of 3:58.430 and in 14th place in the 1km Time Trial in a time of 1:15.438.
In her first time competing at Paralympic level Tyrone cyclist Ann McFarland put in two fine performances to clinch 4th place in the 3km Pursuit in a time of 3:44.429 and 5th place in the 500m Time Trial in a time of 46.045.
With a rest day on Saturday to travel from Manchester to Newport in Wales the squad will be back in action competing in the Paralympic Grand Prix of Wales on Sunday where we look forward to more great performances from the squad.