By Shane Stokes
David O'Loughlin made a strong improvement to his 14 month-old Irish national individual pursuit record on day one of the World Cup in Beijing on Friday.
The Mayo rider covered the 4000m distance in 4 minutes 25.31 secs. This was over 4.5 seconds quicker than the 4 minutes 29.909 mark he set in Newport on September 29th 2006, and was good enough for seventh overall out of the 30 riders in the competition.
The Team Pezula rider has made strong progress since the world track championships in Palma last March. He was 17th there, completing the distance in 4 minutes 30.595 seconds, and can thus be satisfied with his latest showing.
World and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins won the event, recording 4'25.316 after a 4'22.69 qualifyer, edging out Volodymyr Dyudya (Ukraine) by 0.5 seconds in a close-run final.
Alexander Serov (Russia) took bronze in a time of 4 minutes 26.240, just 0.109 faster than the highly promising US teenager Taylor Phinney.