The newly established Irish track cycling team are heading to Manchester for the final round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup February 23rd to 25th as part of their new campaign which targets qualification for the world championships.
David OLoughlin has already given Irelands track cycling team the best possible start when he produced a qualifying time of 4 min 32.206 seconds in the mens 4,000 metres individual pursuit in Moscow in December to finish in 8th place in the UCI Track Cycling World Cup race.
OLoughlin is the first Irish competitor to ride the four-event series as part of the ambitious plan by Cycling Ireland which includes qualification for the world championships in Palma, Mallorca in March next year. Its a decent start to my international track career, said OLoughlin: Especially in the middle of winter as Im not 100% fit at the moment and theres lots of room for improvement.
Its very encouraging, continued the 28-year-old from Cong, Co Mayo: I was only about five seconds off qualifying for the bronze medal ride-off. Thats not so far away. Prior to Moscow I didnt do any specific training but I will have more specific work done before the next world cup in Los Angeles in January. There are no indoor tracks in Ireland so I will be training at home using the special trainers that the Australians have developed. I will also be able to get over to the tracks in Belgium and Newport. I have 100 UCI points already from Moscow and I hope that I can qualify for the world championships in the individual pursuit.
OLoughlin is currently under contract with the US Navigators team based in New Jersey with compatriot Ciarán Power who is also part of a larger Irish team scheduled to ride in Los Angeles.
Cycling Irelands High Performance Director Frank Campbell is delighted with the results of the fledgling project so far. We are holding another training session in Gent in January and from there we go straight to Los Angeles. If things go to plan we would like to have a good run at the mens team pursuit in Manchester but Los Angeles could be a bit early for us.
Mark Scanlon and Ciarán Power will be riding the bunch races for us in Los Angeles as well, continued Campbell: They both ride for American teams and they have to be over there for their early season training camps and early racing. Things are coming on lot quicker than we could ever have hoped for. The plan is to have a big squad at Manchester and we would love one of the guys to qualify for the world championships.