Martyn Irvine, qualified for the 2012 Olympics with an excellent seventh place finish in the Omnium event at the World Track Cycling championships in Melbourne at the weekend..
Tenth after the first three events on Thursday night, Irvine finished fourth in the individual pursuit, ninth in the scratch race and sixth in the 1 km time trial on the final day of competition.
Speaking on Irvine’s qualification Cycling Ireland CEO, Geoff Liffey told of his delight at the achievement which he said was particularly pleasing given that it was achieved without a Velodrome in Ireland and with limited resources.
Liffey commented : “This, on the back of the Bronze medal won by Caroline Ryan , demonstrates the potential for future success in track cycling in Ireland.”
Of key importance in Melbourne was his finishing position relative to the riders from Denmark (4th) and Poland (12th) who were closest to Ireland in the combined rankings from the twelve qualification events. However Irvine had enough of a lead going into this event to ensure Ireland held on to 7th European nation and thus inside the top 8 required to secure a slot for Ireland.
The track world Championships ended a long qualification route which started in Poland in November 2010 and included twelve events in total. Irvine, a native of Ards, in Co Down, completed in eleven of the events on route to qualification taking in China, Kazakhstan, Columbia on route and more recently the Olympic Velodrome at the London World Cup.
26 year old Irvine will now return to Europe and will compete in some road races with his RTS Racing team. He will then return to his track base in Palma where alongside his Coach Andy Sparks he will prepare for his first Olympics.
A delighted Irvine told his Twitter followers : “WOW! Wish I could thank everyone individually but that would take forever! Thanks for all the support, it overwhelming! One more job to do;) “
Ireland now have four Cycling slots confirmed for the London Games with three secured for the men’s Road Race & Time Trial at the end of 2011. There are two more possibilities for a female Road Race & Time Trial slot and a BMX slot both of which will be known at the end of May.
The European Nations to have qualified in the Omnium are:
1. Great Britain