Less than an hour after claiming the Silver Medal in the 4km Individual Pursuit, Martyn Irvine went one better in the Scratch Race by winning the Gold Medal and becoming World Champion in the 15km tactical bunch race.
This was an historical day for Irish Cycling, with this being the first World Title won on the Track in the modern era. This is a monumental moment for the country that has no indoor Velodrome.
After qualifying for the Gold Medal Final in the Individual Pursuit, Irvine started the afternoon of racing with a Silver Medal guaranteed. The Pursuit Final saw Michael Hepburn of Australia lead from the start, with Irvine just marginally out powered in the 4km Time Trial.
Not content with one medal, Irvine rode a gutsy race in the 15km Scratch Race on the 250m Velodrome in Minsk, taking gold by attacking the bunch with ten laps to go. Once Irvine got a significant gap he emptied his tank for the remainder of the race, lapping riders with 1km remaining. With three laps to go (750m) Austrian rider, Andreas Mueller, jumped across to Irvine. However, Irvine, the well-respected Irish rider, pushed again, crossing the line in first place, adding a World Title to his Medal Haul. Luke Davison from Australia took the Bronze Medal.
Speaking from the Velodrome Brian Nugent, Head Coach of Cycling Ireland said: “It’s hard to find the words. Absolutely astounding! That was the most exciting race I have ever seen. Martyn attacked 10 laps out and just held on and on. Even when the Austrian caught him and tried to pass on the last lap, Martyn just wouldn’t give in and kicked one last time to win. A great day for Irish cycling.
Nugent added: “It’s been years of hard work to get to this point, and all credit to Martyn, and the entire team, especially Andy Sparks, who has worked tirelessly to see this happen.”
Cycling Ireland CEO Geoff Liffey said: “This is an historic and tremendous day for Ireland, with our first World Track Title in modern times. This result confirms Martyn’s ability, and confirms the progress being made by all the team working with him. It makes you wonder what more we could achieve if we had an indoor facility at home.”
Next up for Ireland is Caroline Ryan in the Women’s 10km Scratch Race tomorrow at approximately 5.20pm. Ryan won a Bronze Medal at the World Championships last year in the Points Race. She competes in the Points Race on Saturday. Eoin Mullen also races on Saturday in the Men’s Sprint, becoming the first Irish rider to qualify for the World Championships in the Sprint discipline.
Men’s Scratch Race:
Martyn Irvine (Ireland)
Andreas Mueller (Austria)
Luke Davison (Australia)