Caroline Ryan takes first ever World Cup medal by Irish woman after nail-biter in Mexico

Posted on: December 7th, 2013

Caroline Ryan on the podium in Mexico taking receipt of her firsr ever medal at a UCI World Cup; the first ever by an Irish woman.

 

By Brian Canty

Ireland’s Caroline Ryan has won a bronze medal in the 3km individual pursuit at the UCI World Cup in Mexico overnight. It was her first medal at a World Cup and the first ever by an Irish woman.

The achievement continues a great run in the World Cup series over the past year. Martyn Irvine won two silver medals – in the scratch race and pursuit – in November of last year in Glasgow and took points race gold in Manchester last month.

Ryan, a former bronze medallist in the points race at the 2012 World Championships, beat Ukrainian Anna Solovey in the ride-off for bronze in front of a packed velodrome in the town of Aguascalientes in the early hours of the morning, Irish time.

It was a remarkable performance from Ryan who had only just qualified for the ride-off via the qualification round earlier in the day, when Solovey beat the Irish rider’s time by a whopping two seconds.

But Cycling Ireland head coach Brian Nugent said in the aftermath of that performance that the Irish camp “have a plan, and we will focus on the delivery of that.”

And they did just that, with Ryan whipping around the track in a time of 3.34.257, almost five tenths of a second faster than she went in qualifying.

It was far from straight-forward for Ryan however, as she trailed her opponent after the first kilometre (1.13.603 to 1.12.968).

But she’s nothing if not resilient and clawed back the deficit over the next 1,000 metres, to creep ahead (2.23.119 to 2.23.516) with two thirds of the contest completed.

She then held a slender advantage to the line in a thrilling last couple of laps.

Her winning time was three tenths of a second faster than the Ukrainian, with both riders clocking a blistering average speed above 50kph.

Australia’s Rebecca Wiasak won gold, beating Elinor Barker of Team GB in a time of 3.28.884.

Indeed, the top four riders were the only four to average over the 50kph mark in the individual pursuit, underlining Ryan’s standing in the world at present.

Cycling Ireland has consistently said the main goal for the riders this weekend in Mexico has been to gather qualification points for the World Championships in the New Year.

Thankfully Ryan, like Irvine in Manchester last month, had bigger plans for herself and has executed them with some style today.

Incidentally, having spent most of the year as the world No 1 ranked pursuiter and currently still occupying the No 2 slot, Ryan had already qualified for the pursuit at the World Championships in Colombia long before this weekend’s meeting in Mexico got underway.

And on Thursday when she finished 13th in the points race in Mexico she gathered the last few world ranking points she needed to qualify for that event for the upcoming Worlds; with qualification in the two events for the Worlds a foregone conclusion for a rider of her standing.

Next up is Eoin Mullen this evening when he goes in the qualifying for the keirin at 6.55pm Irish time, with the emerging sprint star very much on the hunt for ranking points to get to the Worlds.

He is in very good form, having already competed in the sprint in Mexico yesterday and broken his own 200 metre national record.

 

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