Irish records tumble at Euro Track Champs in Switzerland

Posted on: October 14th, 2015

Martyn Irvine, leading, set the Irish team pursuit record with Paul Healion, David McCann and David O’Loughlin way back in early 2009 and has now bested that marker with Fintan Ryan, Mark Downey and Felix English.


The Irish men’s team pursuit line-up at the European Track Championships broke the national record in the 4km event on the first day of competition in Switzerland on Wednesday.

And not to be outdone, the Irish women’s team was also in action on the boards in Grenchen and it too broke the elite women’s team pursuit national record.

In the men’s event Martyn Irvine, Mark Downey, Felix English and Fintan Ryan clocked a time of 4mins 11.539secs to shade the previous record, subject to ratification, by the slimmest of margins at 0.048secs.

The previous marker was set by Paul Healion, David McCann, Irvine and David O’Loughlin; the calibre of those four really underlining the quality of the new standard 6½ years later.

It was a particularly strong ride by the new squad considering it has been together training for just over one month.

The team completed the 4km event in an average speed of 57.247kph.

And while they failed to make the top eight teams that will go on to compete for the medals, it was a very solid start to their time together.

While Irvine is a former world champion in the scratch race and took silver in the individual pursuit at the same Worlds in 2013, English is making a return to the track after an absence of four years.

Downey and Ryan – former TT and road race national junior champions respectively – are still first year U23 riders, a fact that bodes very well for the chances of the same line-up going much faster over the not too distant future.


The Irish women also set a new Irish record with a line-up that included – from bottom of track up – Lydia Boylan, Josie Knight and Caroline Ryan. That trio is seen here riding last year with Lauren Creamer. She is not in the team for the Euros, with Mel Spath completing the quartet in Switzerland (Photo: Guy Swarbrick)


It was a complete turnaround on the European Championships exactly 12 months ago when the men crashed in the team pursuit and were left to nurse nasty injuries that wrecked the rest of the meeting for them.

Great Britain were fastest if the qualifiers in Switzerland; with a line-up that included Bradley Wiggins clocking a time of 3mins 57.277secs for an average speed of 60.688kph.

They put almost 1.8 seconds in home nation Switzerland, with those two squads the only ones in the 14-team field to break the four minute marker.

In the women’s event, the Irish team of Lydia Boylan, Josie Knight, Mel Spath and Caroline Ryan came home eight of the 10 teams in action, clocking a time of 4mins 35.090secs.

They beat the existing record by 4.372, according to Cycling Ireland.

The Irish quartet were seventh quickest over the first and second kilometres and then eight fastest over the third kilometre.

However, in the last quarter of the race they complete the final kilometre fourth quickest and will perhaps rue not going out a bit stronger earlier in their ride.

They secured the final qualification place for the next round, which begins the head-to-head section of the contest that will decide the medals.

They face a German team that finished fifth fastest on Wednesday, some 1.764 seconds quicker than the Irish.

Depending on their time riding against the Germans, the Irish women will compete again in another round to decide the final placings from the bronze medal to eight in the competition.

And the fact they were within 1.785s of a top four finishing time means a really high placing is now not beyond them.

Racing to the Olympic and World Championship team pursuit regulations, the women are guaranteed two more rides tomorrow, Thursday, from 10.30am Irish time.

In the evening session, Irvine rides the scratch race while Josie Knight tackles the points race, the final two events on the day’s programme.



European Track Championships

Wed, Oct 14th: Grenchen, Switzerland

Qualifying Men’s Team Pursuit (4km)

1 Great Britain 3:57.277
2 Switzerland 3:59.026
3 France 4:00.735
4 Russia 4:01.152
5 Denmark 4:02.319
6 Germany 4:02.341
7 Belgium 4:02.459
8 Italy 4:02.884
9 Netherlands 4:03.271
10 Spain 4:03.864
11 Belarus 4:04.878
12 Ukraine 4:09.127
13 Czech Republic 4:10.599
14 Ireland 4:11.539



Qualifying Women’s Team Pursuit (4km)

1 Great Britain 4:21.089
2 Russia 4:30.664
3 Italy 4:32.480
4 Poland 4:33.305
5 Germany 4:33.326
6 Belarus 4:33.404
7 France 4:34.521
8 Ireland 4:35.090
9 Spain 4:40.765
10 Ukraine 4:48.152