Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal have defended their second world title at the UCI 2018 Para-cycling Road World Championships in Maniago, Italy today, winning the Women’s B Tandem Road Race in style. The Irish pair add this to the Time Trial title they defended last Friday.
The Paralympic Champions were competing in the 81.6-kilometre Road Race, which consisted of 6 laps of a 13.6-kilometre circuit – with their sights set on defending the title that they won in South Africa last year.
The silver medal was won by Great Britain’s pair 2 minutes 24 seconds further back, with Poland’s Iwona Podkoscielna and Aleksandra Teclaw winning bronze.
“It was a great race,” said McCrystal afterwards. “It was probably one of the best tandem races we have done. It was hard from the start; the brits put the pressure on. The first 5km was hilly and technical – and a few bikes were dropped straight away. It was a really good course – there was everything in it – technical hilly – the course suited us.”
The Irish duo were feeling strong throughout and pushed ahead on the fourth lap. “On the fourth lap through that hilly technical section I just saw an opportunity to go,” McCrystal added, “but it wasn’t a full attack – it was just pressure on. The others were under pressure so I said let’s go, so we went for it. The Polish got across to us and we lost them then on the hill.
“The two of us just felt really, really good today so we did the rest of it on our own. We had 40 kilometres left to do on our own! We never got a big gap until the very last lap – but we knew we were going fast. It was great to come home again and we kept the world champion jersey – it’s great.”
After winning the Time Trial title on Friday, Dunlevy described how the pressure had come off – “really after the TT we didn’t have that pressure going in to the race – we just wanted to enjoy it. And, of course, we wanted to win it. We had an idea of what we were going to do – but you know sometimes you have to wait and see how the race actually pans out.
“I knew by the third lap that some other bikes were struggling and even though I was struggling – we weren’t under pressure. I believed that we could get away from them.
“On that fourth lap that split apart we could see on the hill that they were struggling and we pushed and got a gap – and we just put our heads down and worked to the line. We didn’t ease up in case something might happen so we kept on the pressure and came in two and a half minutes ahead of the GB bike which is fantastic – it was a great win and we are delighted to take the title.”
This rounds off another successful world championship for the Irish Para-cycling Team, as they embark on their campaign for the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020