By Shane Stokes
Four years after he finished 13th in the Olympic road race in Athens, former Navigators Insurance pro Ciarán Power has targeted a strong participation in Beijing as his big goal for the year. Back in 2004, the Irishman took one of his top career results, landing that top 15 place despite having been away for several laps in a breakaway group and being caught in the closing stages of the race.
His confidence was boosted greatly by the performance, but his aim of building on the result was foiled due to a now-corrected blood-flow problem in his leg. He was further hampered by illness in 2007, but has been working hard over the winter and hopes to once again shine in the Games.
This goal will be helped by his move to the new Pezula Continental team, which should give him and his coach Paddy Doran greater control over planning his training and racing.
"I've been keeping my head down, getting stuck into some good winter miles," Power told Cyclingnews this week. "I'll try and get some form and results early on and take it from there. We start racing in South Africa, doing a new series of races there from the 2nd to the 7th of February [the Intaka Tech World's View Challenge series]. After that we will do the Giro del Capo and then the Tour of South Africa.
"The Olympics are definitely the big goal for the year. To get there I'll have to have a great first half of the season, but I plan on doing that anyway."