Track cycle team impress in World Cup

December 17, 2010

Both the women’s track team and Martin Irvine in the Omnium event achieved their pre set targets at the world cup in Columbia. The women’s team time pushes them into the top ten ranked European teams and back on schedule to go for Olympic qualification;Irvine finished 7th in his first world cup Omnium event.

Prior to the event Sparks said ” They have all improved since he came on board in August and he says they need to keep building on that. My expectations, across the board, are always going to be high,” the American explained. “All of the athletes know what level of performance I am interested in and that is what we have been working hard for to achieve.For Cali, we have set the following goals: for Martyn, top-10 in the omnium, and top-10 in the scratch race for Felix. A time of 3.33 or faster for the women’s team pursuit, top-15 for Jennifer in the omnium and sub 3.45 for Caroline in the individual pursuit.”

Sparks, the US Olympic coach for Beijing 2008, is husband and coach to the multiple world champion Sarah Hammer. He believes Irish riders can realistically target Olympic qualification.

“Objectively speaking, if you examine the results from the European Championship, it shows that Martyn has a very good chance of making it to London,” he said. “For the women, the next two World Cups will tell a lot. If our Irish women get consistent top-eights in the team pursuit it would look promising to have them lining up in London come 2012.”

Of those Irish riders, he is particularly impressed by Irvine (25).

“He finished ninth at the European Championships which is a very good indicator that he has a great shot of qualifying for the London Games,” Sparks said.

“Martyn is one of the most naturally talented bike racers I have ever worked with.”

Cali is the host of the 2nd World Cup Round in the 2011 season, providing the 3rd opportunity of 12 for nations to gain qualification points for the London Olympic Games. Ireland’s main focus is the women’s team pursuit and Omnium.
Racing started on Thursday 16th December, with a full 3 days of racing in store for the team. On Thursday Ireland were represented in the Women’s Team Pursuit and the Men’s Scratch Race. Friday’s racing includes the Men’s Omnium and the Women’s Individual Pursuit, and on the final day, Saturday, Ireland will race in the Women’s Omnium, the Women’s Points race and the Men’s Sprint.
There are 12 opportunities for European nations to gain points towards qualification in the 2012 Olympics. These comprise of 8 world cup rounds, 2 world championships and 2 European championships. Nations are awarded points at these events based on their results, and the top European nations will race at the Olympic Games. The Irish team kicked off their Olympic bid in Poland last month in the European Championships, where they gained valuable race experiences and produced strong performances. Last week Shannon McCurley represented Ireland in the Melbourne World Cup, unfortunately she did not qualify for the finals in the heavily populated Omnium event.
Caroline Ryan
Ciara Horne
Jennifer O Reilly
Martyn Irvine
Felix English
Andy Sparks
Brian Nugent
Brian Kenneally
Karen Doyle
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