Classy Ryan Mullen ends 28-year famine for Irish cycling

Posted on: August 3rd, 2017

Irish cycling Ryan Mullen

Ryan Mullen on his way to the bronze medal at the European Championships. A huge victory now looks inevitable.

 

Big day for Irish cycling as Ryan Mullen takes bronze

 

Ryan Mullen has given Irish cycling a big boost by winning a bronze medal in the elite TT at the European Road Championships.

In the process he has taken another step towards being one of the truly great testers of pro cycling.

It was Ireland’s first elite medal at a major road championships since 1989; some 28 years ago.

Back then Sean Kelly took bronze in the road race at the World Championships in Chambery behind Greg Lemond and Dimitri Konyshev.

Still aged just 22 years, the fact Mullen went into today’s race in Herning, Denmark, as one of the hot favourites for gold says everything about his progress in recent years.

And though denied gold today, a major victory against the clock for his trade team or in the colours of Ireland looks inevitable.

But on a wet day in Denmark it was the Belgian rider Victor Campenaerts who took the title.

The 25-year-old LottoNL-Jumbo rider whipped around the 46km course in a time of 53:17.

 

Irish cycling Ryan Mullen

Irish cycling Ryan Mullen

 

Campenaerts was two seconds quicker than Poland’s Maciej Bodnar, a Bora-hansgrohe team mate of Sam Bennett.

Bodnar also won the TT stage on the penultimate day of the Tour de France less than two weeks ago.

Mullen, who rides for Cannondale-Drapac, was four seconds behind Campenaerts and two behind Bodnar.

He adds his bronze medal to the silver medal he took as a junior at these championships five years ago for Irish cycling.

And in 2014 he took silver in the U23 TT at the World Championships; beaten to the world title by Australian Campbell Flakemore by less than a second.

Ryan Mullen was also 5th in the elite TT at the World Championships last year. He is one of a very strong group of young riders now rising in Irish cycling.

After today’s effort the disappointment of not taking the gold medal was clear to see on Mullen’s face.

But he said he could be happy he gave it everything and had been on great form on the day.

“I had high hopes because I knew I did a good ride,” he said. “And I knew that it would take a big beating.

“That’s my first elite podium at a major championship. So that’s progress and a step up from before.”

He also pointed to the calibre of the men who beat him.

“I came third to the silver medallist from last year’s championships and Bodnar, who won the TT stage in the Tour de France.

“Coming third in the Euros, fifth at Worlds. I’m 22. I have to be happy with that.

“I’ll continue to develop, and at some point, hopefully before the year is over, I’ll win something.

“I’m delighted with my ride, but five seconds? It’s annoying to miss out by five seconds.”

 

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