Gordon and Byrne Sixth in Sprint at World Championships in Los Angeles, USA
Ireland's tandem of Martin Gordon and Eamonn Byrne finished sixth in the Men's B Tandem Sprint today at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles. In the qualifying rounds the new pairing clocked a time of 11.116 over 200m, placing them up against the Malaysian duo of Rizan and Rasol in the quarter finals. In the match sprint the Malaysian tandem proved too strong for the Irish and progressed into the semi-finals. In the 5/6 final Ireland faced the Spanish bike of Avila Rondriguez and Font Bertoli, but were outpowered in the closing laps to finish sixth overall in their debut at the Paracycling World Championships.
In the 200m qualifiers the Irish bike placed sixth fastest, and in the next round rode tactically against the more experienced Malaysian team, coming close to the Rio Paralympians in their second sprint. In the match sprints the team that progresses to the next round is the tandem that wins the best out of three sprints. Speaking after the competition Byrne said:
"We did what we could against a much faster duo and raced as well as we could. We dropped down to a slightly smaller gear for the second heat for better acceleration and the last 200m ended up as a 10.9, so it was a quick race."
In the race for fifth/sixth place against the Spaniards the Irish tandem took control of the race early on, with Spain eventually taking fifth just ahead of the Irish bike, Byrne described the race saying:
"The Spaniards were riding a massive gear and wanted the front, we got them on the hip then and flicked them up a couple of times, but once they got the gear moving they did a three lap effort to the line. We sat on and drove on the final lap, and were coming through, but it wasn't enough."
Cycling Ireland Performance Coach Neill Delahaye was impressed with how Gordon and Byrne have conducted themselves saying:
"The lads have had a baptism of fire amongst bikes that have been around a while, with considerable experience. They have given a good account of themselves and this World's has been a valuable learning opportunity for them. We are happy with the event and expect more from this pairing in the future. With a bit more time and training behind them they have shown a capacity to go faster, and that's what we are looking forward to seeing in the future."
This is the first time that a World Track Championships for Para-cycling has been held in the post-Paralympic season, and was the first outing for the Irish team since its phenomenal medal haul at the Paralympic Games in Rio last September. The Paracycling Track World Championships took place in the Velo Sports Centre Velodrome, Los Angeles, USA from the 2nd - 5th March.