Ireland qualifies just one track cyclist for Rio Olympic Games

Posted on: March 14th, 2016

There was disappointment for Ireland as the UCI announced its allocation for the track races at the Rio Olympics. The national team has managed to qualify just one rider. However, while more was hoped for, Ireland’s sole representative Shannon McCurley, third in line above, is understandably delighted.

 

There was disappointing news for Ireland as the UCI confirmed the allocation of places to nations for the track cycling at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

There will be just one Irish rider in action on the boards in Rio, with sprinter Shannon McCurley having qualified Ireland in the keirin.

The news was not unexpected as Cycling Ireland knew how the qualification process was unfolding in recent months.

However, it had expressed hope that others would make the cut and had targeted significantly more than one place at the outset of the Olympic cycle.

Having one rider at the Games is a repeat of London 2012, when Martyn Irvine was our sole representative; in the omnium event.

However, with the level of investment in the track squad since then, including sending a men’s and women’s team pursuit line-ups to the UCI World Cup and having a permanent base year-round for the track riders in Majorca, it was hoped Irvine’s qualification could be built on.

 

Irvine was the only Irish rider on the track in London and it was hoped the team would be bigger for Rio.

 

But Irvine’s losing motivation and Ryan Mullen stepping away from the track, as he focussed on securing a place at WorldTour level on the road, meant Cycling Ireland’s plans were dealt a blow in terms of the men’s team pursuit.

And while the women’s line-up has progressed hugely in the last 12 months, they have fallen short of qualification.

However, the women have showed a lot of promise for the future and with young riders like Josie Knight and Eoin Mullen, to mention just two, coming up through the ranks there are plenty of options in the years ahead.

McCurley, who is based in Australia but qualifies for Ireland through her Irish roots, said she was delighted with confirmation that she had done enough on the international stage of late to fulfil and lifetime’s ambition to get to the Olympics.

She has qualified a place for Ireland which technically could be filled by another rider, if they were selected ahead of her. However, she has secured the place competing alone and is the automatic choice to go to Rio.

“Words can’t describe the feeling when your childhood dream becomes a reality,” she said.

“I’m stoked to say I’ll be competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

She added it was an honour to be the first Irish woman to qualify for an Olympics on the track and was very thankful to everyone in Australia and Ireland who had helped her in recent years, including her coach in Australia and Cycling Ireland.

“It’s been a hard two years of racing – crashes and hospital visits – trying to qualify but all the blood sweat and tears are finally worth it.

“I’ve seen the world racing my bike and I can’t thank everyone enough for the support along the way so huge thanks to everyone who’s helped me right from juniors to now.”

 

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