Irish riders pulled off a brilliant one-two at the Paracycling Road World Cup in Quebec, Canada, with pairings Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal and Josephine Healion and Linda Kelly finishing first and second in Friday’s women’s tandem time trial.
Paralympic champions Dunlevy and McCrystal beat Healion and Kelly by 29.71 seconds, while Swedish duo Louise Jannering and Cartrin Nilsson were a minute and 42 seconds back in third place.
European champion Ronan Grimes also impressed with a super silver medal in the MC4 men’s time trial. Damien Vereker and Dillon Corkery finished sixth in the men’s tandem event.
Meanwhile, Archie Ryan put on an excellent performance against older and more experienced riders, including WorldTour pros, on Friday’s second stage of the Sazka Tour in the Czech Republic. He finished seventh on the grueling second stage to the summit in Pustevny.
The Jumbo-Visma Development Team rider was just three seconds behind stage winner Lorenzo Rota and jumps up to fifth place overall.
Still only 20 years old, the Wicklow cyclist is three seconds behind Rota heading into the final two stages. The mountain profile of both should suit his climbing talents.
Finally, Sam Bennett’s hopes that a strong showing in the Tour of Poland would improve his chances of selection for the Vuelta a España were dashed when he finished outside the top 10 on the final stage in Kraków.
Bennett was in the lead with 350 meters to go but faded as the sprint opened. He crossed the finish line in 19th and with a best of five on stage two, he didn’t achieve the strong result he was aiming for in the event.
His chances were hampered by the failure of his Bora-hansgrohe teammate and leader Jordi Meeus to race on Thursday.
“The guys kept me in a good position on the track to save energy and in the last two kilometers I tried to cling to another team’s rear wheel,” he explained.
“I found one then, but I think it was too soon. When the pace picked up, it was difficult to keep up. That was a bit of a stupid mistake. But I’m glad the guys were able to put me in a good position and I’m happy with how I’ve been fighting for position so far.
“It wasn’t a great result in the end, but we know what went wrong and we can work on it next time.”
Team sport director Rolf Aldag explained how Meeus’ absence affected Bennett’s chances.
“It wasn’t ideal that Jordi, the last man for Sam, wasn’t there today because of his DNF [did not finish] yesterday. As a result, Sam had to take a little more risk and invest heavily to position himself. Ryan [Mullen] got him to the two kilometer mark and then Sam had to cling to another rider’s bike from there.
“He was behind [UAE Team Emirates lead-out man Juan Sebastián] Molano, but he [Molano] stopped too early and then the others came with momentum from behind. Without momentum, a sprinter simply has no chance in this situation. Then, of course, the sprint was over and Sam couldn’t get involved in the end.”
Bennett will hope that the team will select him for the upcoming Vuelta a España anyway. He has won three stages there in the past and although he has endured a frustrating year with just one win so far, he has to compete in his first Grand Tour race since winning two stages plus the green jersey at the 2020 Tour de France Has.