By Shane Stokes
Cycling Ireland yesterday announced the composition of the Grant Thornton-backed Team Ireland squad which will represent the country in the world road race championships in Madrid next week. Philip Deignan will hope to build on his fine debut pro season and the fifth place he achieved in the European championships in Austria earlier this summer when he leads the charge in the Under 23 road race. He will be supported by Paídi O'Brien, Andrew McQuaid, Miceal Concannon and Ryan Connor in his bid for a medal.
Former world junior champion Mark Scanlon will line out in the Elite road race alongside fellow professionals David McCann and David O'Loughlin, the current Irish road race champion. The latter will be the country's sole entrant in the time trial events. All three have been in good form of late, with O'Loughlin winning the Mengoni GP and Scanlon taking second on a stage of the Tour de L'Avenir.
Siobhan Dervan's good season racing in Belgium sees her represent Ireland in the Elite women's road race. She met CI's criteria for selection earlier this month when she finished seventh in the Wielsbeke Grand Prix and she is hoping to ride well in her first world championship.
"A lot of people believe this team will do a great job in Madrid and I would certainly agree with that," said CI President Miceal Concannon at the launch. "I am very excited about this lineup. This it is the strongest Irish selection in many years."
Team sponsor Gearoid Costelloe of Grant Thornton was similarly optimistic. "This is a very strong squad and I think they will do us all proud," he said.