By Sheila Brady
Rory Townsend was recently crowned Sprint Classification winner of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain at the age of just 24.
The Irishman, who was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, fought valiantly for the red jersey before finally wresting it in triumphant fashion at the last stage at Deansgate in Manchester.
Overwhelmed by his win, Townsend said that he was greatly looking forward to the upcoming UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire later this month (22nd–29th September).
Conscious of teammate Nico Roche’s (Grand Tour Stage winner) absence due to injury, he took the opportunity to wish him a speedy recovery.
When asked about Ireland’s prospects for the men’s elite race from Leeds to Harrogate 285 km, he stated that the team’s national coach feels this is the strongest national team Ireland has produced for many generations.
Cycling Ireland has confirmed the list of riders that reads like a list of Who’s Who greats; Dan Martin (stage winner Tour de France), Eddie Dunbar (climber U23 Tour of Flanders winner), Sam Bennett (National Road Race Champion and multiple Vuelta a Espanastage winner), Conor Dunne (National Road Race Champion), Ryan Mullen (a 4-time National Champion time trial winner) and Rory Townsend (British National Sprints Classification).
Bennett sprinted to yet another second-place finish in the final stage of the Vuelta, as Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic secured overall victory to become his country’s first Grand Tour winner.
The World Road Race will also feature the Elite Men Time Trial with Eddie Dunbar and Ryan Mullen.
The week of racing also features the following races:
Elite Women Road Race – Alice Sharpe
Elite Women Time Trial – Anna Turvey and Kelly Murphy
U23 Mens Road Race – Ben Healy
U23 Men Time Trial – Ben Healy and Michael O’Loughlin
Junior Men Road Race – Archie Ryan and Kevin McCambridge
Junior Men Time Trial – Finley Newmark and Kevin McCambridge
Junior Women Road Race – Lara Gillespie, Lucy O’Donnell, Maeve Gallagher
Junior Women Time Trial – Lara Gillespie
Elsewhere, Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal claimed their third Time Trial world title in a row at the UCI Paracycling World Championships in Emmen, the Netherlands.
The Irish tandem took gold with a time of 41:2.51 over the 31.2km course, to beat New Zealand’s Emma Foy and Hannah Van Kampen by 55.28 seconds.
“We had form coming into it from our previous results,” said Dunlevy.
“I believed that we could do it, and I really, really wanted this one. I know Eve did as well. It was really tough out there. It was a flat course and that suited us, but it was a long, hard TT. We fought all the way. I am absolutely delighted to win again.”
The pair followed that up with a silver medal in the Road Race.