Irvine on course for London Olympic qualification
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Irvine on course for London Olympic qualification

by Shane Stokes at 6:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track
“My bunch races are ten times better than last year”

Martyn IrvineHaving gone into the Beijing World Cup determined to try to move Ireland up to eighth in the European nations list and thus in line for Olympic qualification, Martyn Irvine’s Chinese campaign appears to have been more profitable than he had expected.

While his fifth overall fell two places short of the podium he was aiming for – something which would have been a career-best result – preliminary calculations suggest that he moved Ireland up two places to seventh in the rankings. With just the London round of the World Cup plus the world championships left, he looks well on the way to securing a place in London 2012.

Irvine was sounding encouraged afterwards, while also knowing that he can’t presume anything just yet. “I've always had faith in my abilities but with the Omnium it’s such a roller coaster. However I knew if I kept at it things would go my way,” he told VeloNation. “Hopefully it stays that way for the next two races.”

Although he was fifth in the European championships, the 26 year old’s campaign was dented when he was disqualified from the Astana World Cup due to not withdrawing quickly enough from the elimination event. He said afterwards that he didn’t realise he was out, and felt the penalty was a harsh one.

He’s however managed to battle back from that, placing fifth in the Cali World Cup and then repeating that finish yesterday in Beijing.

Irvine had been back in tenth overall at the end of day one, but yesterday’s second place in the scratch race, fifth in the individual pursuit and seventh in the kilometre time trial moved him up the standings.

The performance should see him overtake Danish rider Lasse Norman Hansen, who took twelfth overall yesterday. He’s already certain to move past Polish rider Mateusz Nowak, who had a disastrous qualification race on Friday and didn’t get through to the main Omnium competition.

“I never want to be happy at another rider doing badly, but I'll take the advantage when I can get it,” said Irvine of the latter.

Ireland is a country without an indoor velodrome and with a small number of international track riders. Irvine’s progress is important as he’s the only Irish rider with a chance of competing in the track events in London.

His position in the rankings with two counting events left is due to the good improvement he has shown in recent months. He’s determined to keep getting better, with medals next on his to-do list.

“Overall I'm happy enough with my performance. My bunch races are ten times better than last year,” he said. “I just need to sort out that damn elimination and I'll soon pick up some silverware.”



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