Ireland’s Ronan Grimes has won Silver in the MC4 Scratch Race at the Para-cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn on St Patrick’s Day.
The 30-year-old from Athenry in Galway had been inching closer to a World Medal throughout the Championships at the Omnisport Arena, as had the whole of the Irish team, with Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal losing bronze in Tandem 3km Individual Pursuit by 0.067s on Friday.
On Thursday, Grimes completed the MC4 1km TT in a time of 01:10.648 to finish eighth, his time 2.826s outside the medals, with the win going to Jody Cundy from Great Britain.
Grimes then smashed 9 seconds off his personal best for time of 04:46.518 in Saturday’s MC4 4km Individual Pursuit – the time leaving him in fifth, just 0.101s away from a second round ride-off for the Bronze Medal.
Ronan Grimes said: “I’m still in shock. It’s been a good week. The TT on Thursday was a good result, I rode a second quicker than last year, so I knew even then that I was in good form. Then in the pursuit I was unlucky not to get the ride-off.
“[Cycling Ireland Para-cycling Coach] Neill Delahaye has brought me on a tremendous amount since my first Worlds in 2017. I was probably just making up numbers at that first Worlds, now, I was so close to that medal ride-off in the pursuit, and able to go into the Scratch Race confident of a medal. That’s the result of a serious amount of work from Neill and the team over the last two years.”
He said: “It’s amazing the amount of work that Cycling Ireland, Sport Ireland and Paralympics Ireland put into this, so it’s nice to get a result out of the week to thank them for everything they do to make medals like this happen.”
The two men who made that pursuit ride-off ahead of Grimes, Colombian Diego Duenas and Romanian Carol-Eduard Novak also rode 4:46s, and faced Grimes again in St Patrick’s Day’s MC2 15km Scratch Race, one becoming an unlikely ally.
Duenas attacked 20 laps into the 60-lap affair, Grimes reacting quickest, and the pair quickly gaining a lap on the field. Duenas was then the only rider who could beat Grimes for the World Champions’ title.
“It was a fairly cagey race,” said Grimes, “but when Diego Duenas attacked I got across to him and I didn’t even realise we had a gap until we had half a lap. We took a lap very easy and after that it was the two of us marking each other out.
“With 10 laps to go you knew you were certain for a medal, but I got boxed in with about four laps to go. I was just caught in the wrong place and couldn’t even contest the final sprint. That was a bit upsetting, but I’m delighted to come away with a medal.”
Though double Road World Champions Katie-George Dunlevy and pilot Eve McCrystal did not take away a medal, they set a new National Record in qualifying for the 3km pursuit of 3:30.589, a feat mirrored by Men’s Tandem Peter Ryan and pilot Sean Hahessy in the 4km pursuit. The pair, nicknamed the Tipperary Tandem, rode 4:17.063 to finish fifth.
On Thursday, WC3 athlete Richael Timothy, making her World Championships debut, had set a new National Record in her 3km individual pursuit ride, setting 04:48.945 for a 9-second personal best.
MC2 athlete Chris Burns, hailing from County Down, also hit a personal best by 6-seconds in that event, going on to record another personal best and new National Record in the 1km TT, before finishing eighth in MC2 Scratch on Saturday.