After a controlled and gutsy performance in the Women’s Individual Pursuit, Caroline Ryan won the Bronze Medal from Ukraine’s Anna Solovey at the Track Cycling World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico at the weekend.
Ryan had qualified for the Bronze Medal ride-off with the 4th fastest time, but rode outstandingly in the final, to seize the medal in a new Irish Record of 3.34.257. This is Ireland’s first Women’s World Cup medal at the elite level. The Gold medal was won by Rebecca Wiasak (AUS), who is the World Number One ranked Pursuiter, silver went to GB’s Elinor Barker.
The former International Rower rode a steady first half in the 3km Time Trial, marginally trailing Solovey. However, once passed the halfway mark Ryan’s control paid dividends, as she pushed ahead, to win by an eventual .205seconds.
Speaking from the medal ceremony, Head Coach Brian Nugent said “Caroline rode a controlled race early on, and fought hard in the closing laps, to make sure she won Ireland’s first Elite Women’s World Cup medal. It was going to be difficult to take a medal tonight, but Caroline met the challenge head on, and she deserved that one. We’re all so proud of her.”
Second in Manchester and first in Aguasacalientes, Rebecca Wiasak leads the World Cup on 285. She can now hope to lift the overall World Cup in Guadalajara as she comfortably leads Caroline Ryan and Poland’s Eugenia Bujak, who are on 225 and 218 points respectively.
Meantime, premier sprinter, Eoin Mullen, rounded off Ireland’s most successful year in track cycling, with an impressive 13th place in the Men’s Keirin in Aguascalientes on Saturday. Young Mullen has been steadily progressing at the World Stage, and is based at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle. The Men’s Keirin was won by Matthew Crampton (GBR) with Tobias Wachter (GBR) and Shane Perkins (AUS) taking silver and bronze.
Performance Director and CEO of Cycling Ireland, Geoff Liffey was impressed with Mullen saying “Eoin has continued to progress at this level. He set a new national record in the Sprint on Friday, and that was a really strong performance in the Keirin.”
Liffey was happy with the performance of the Irish Team , especially considering Ireland is a country that does not have a Velodrome “Caroline won the Bronze Medal in the Pursuit, this brings to close a great year. Over the last two years the Irish Team has clocked up 38 medals at European and World level, across the Paralympic and Olympic programmes. 15 of those medals have been in track cycling, which is a remarkable achievement for a country without a Velodrome. It would be exciting to see what we could achieve with a facility at home that would allow much more talent to develop, as we have proven expertise in our coaching system.”
The main goal of the Irish Team at the second World Cup of the Season was to secure qualifying points for the World Championships in February. Ryan has now secured a place in both the Points Race and the Individual Pursuit, and Martyn Irvine had already secured a spot in the Scratch Race and the Individual Pursuit. The next World Cup takes place in Guadalajara, Mexico, from the 17th – 19th January 2014.
Women’s Individual Pursuit Finals:
1. Rebecca Wiasak (AUS) 3.28.884
2. Elinor Baker (GBR) 3.31.070
3. Caroline Ryan (IRL) 3.34.257
4. Anna Solovey (UKR) 3.34.520