U23 internationals Javan Nulty of DID Dunboyne and Ryan Mullen, then of IG Sigma Sport (closest to camera), in action in the scratch race at the inaugural International Track GP last July (Photo: Adrian O’Connor www.blackumbrella.ie)
The organisers of the International Track Grand Prix, held in Dublin for the first time last summer, have said the event will run for a full weekend this year.
And with Olympic qualification points on offer at the UCI-graded meeting, it is hoped a stronger international field will come to fight it out on the Sundrive Rd track.
Cycling Ireland’s track commission has confirmed today the event will unfold on July 12th and 13th.
The extension from its one-day format of last year will allow for a much more comprehensive programme of events including an omnium, which involves six races run over two days of competition.
Last year the meeting attracted some of our best domestic riders, including 7th in the U23 World Championships Time Trial Ryan Mullen and rising sprint star Eoin Mullen, not to mention 2012 World Track Championships bronze medallist Caroline Ryan.
Some members of the all-conquering Team GB squad also travelled to Ireland including Andy Tennant, a former world junior pursuit champion and elite gold medallist in the team pursuit at European and world championships.
Also riding last year was Katie Archibald, who was just emerging at the time and has since gone on to win a gold medal in the team pursuit at last year’s European Championships.
Former New Zealand U23 road race and time trial champion Michael Vink also rode, as did a number of quality Dutch and Belgian riders.
With the Olympic qualification process set to start taking shape later in the year, it is likely this year’s field will attract a much greater number of Olympic hopefuls from overseas; upping the challenge for home riders.
And with two days of racing now on offer, the trip to Ireland would be more worthwhile for riders based in the UK or Continental Europe.
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Ireland’s world scratch race champion, Martyn Irvine was injured last year and was unable to ride. But it is hoped he will be there this year.
However, Caroline Ryan – who won a bronze medal in the pursuit at the UCI World Cup in Mexico in December – has already confirmed she will race in the July meeting.
“I’m really excited about the International GP this year,” she said.
“It was great to get the opportunity last year for the first time to race and win an international track race on home ground and I can’t wait to get back out and race in front of a home crowd again.”
But long before turning their attention to the Dublin meeting, Irvine and Ryan will ride the World Track Championships which begin in Cali, Colombia, at the end of this month.