Double Irish road race champion David O'Loughlin will begin Ireland's world cycling championship campaign on Thursday afternoon when he lines out in the Elite men's time trial on the Caso de Capo course in Madrid. The Mayo rider will compete against some of the world's top professional riders in the tough 44.1 kilometre test and is hoping for a decent ride.
"David has been in very good form lately and has worked hard for this," said Grant Thornton Team Ireland manager Martin O'Loughlin on Wednesday. "He has ridden the course several times and will be trying to go as well as possible. I think a top twenty or even a top fifteen place is possible, if all goes well for him."
O'Loughlin is certainly in good, if not intimidating, company. He will be chasing 2000 Olympic TT champion Viatcheslav Ekimov and be pursued by the Colombian Victor Hugo Peña, who rode well against the clock in this month's Tour of Spain and also wore the yellow jersey in the 2003 Tour de France.
After O'Loughlin, Siobhan Dervan will get the Irish RR campaign underway when she takes part in the 126 km Elite women's event on Saturday morning. Philip Deignan, arguably Ireland's best medal hope, leads a five man squad which also includes Paídi O'Brien, Miceal Concannon, Ryan Connor and Andrew McQuaid in the 168 km under 23 road race, starting at 1.30 pm.
Former world junior champion Mark Scanlon, David McCann and David O'Loughlin then take part in the Elite men's road race on Sunday.