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.”