Ryan Mullen has finished in an outstanding fifth place in the Elite Men’s Time Trial at the UCI 2016 Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar today.
The 22 year-old rider was the early leader in the 40-kilometre race against the clock, holding the fastest recorded time for the majority of the day, before the final medal winners crossed the line in quick succession, pushing him into fifth place.
Nicolas Roche finished thirtieth in the same race. Germany’s Tony Martin was the eventual winner of the gold medal ahead of silver medallist Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus. Spain’s Jonathan Castroviejo took the bronze medal.
In a field filled with many of the top time-trialists in the world, the Cannondale-Drapac racer impressed finishing the race in a time of 46.04.74, ahead of the likes of Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin.
Although Mullen is no stranger to winning medals at World Championship level, having won silver in the U23 Time Trial in 2014 alongside multiple track cycling medals, this fifth place result was particularly special.
An unassuming Mullen commented afterwards saying “I don’t really know what happened today, I don’t know if maybe I took a shortcut or something! Ryan Mullen doesn’t get 5th in the world, just 11 seconds off a medal! I’m in disbelief, that’s really good and I just hope I can keep progressing at this level.”
“I was in the hot seat early on, and I just thought they’d push me off it pretty quickly. But I sat there for nearly two hours, and then was off it completely in the space of four minutes!”
Cycling Ireland Technical Director Brian Nugent was delighted with how today unfolded, citing the result as one of Ireland’s best: “That’s Ireland’s best ever elite Time Trial result at these Championships. Ryan was just superb today. I was driving his following car and I’ve never seen him perform so well. He went to the limit today.”
“It’s been building for a few months, and he’s put a lot of work into this. You could see it this week in his training sessions, he was so strong, but today he was phenomenal. We’re so proud of him for the way he delivered that ride today. It’s hard to piece it all together, and today he did that to perfection.”
Like all the riders who have competed in Doha so far, Mullen found the heat played a significant role in proceedings; “For the first couple of days I really suffered in the heat – then I had one really bad day, it knocked my confidence, but in a way I think that’s what I needed.”
“Today went really well, I think part of it was a case of who handled the heat best. I squeezed every last drop of juice out of myself, I did the best that I could do, and Brian [Cycling Ireland Technical Director] was really supportive too. It was just nice to be able to perform again and put myself up there.”
Being 22 Mullen technically could have competed in the U23 event on Monday, but is glad he competed in the Elite Time Trial today: “They were different events, different courses, and it is horses for courses. Today was a good course for me; it just all went to plan, everything went well and I was healthy. Now I’ll race the Road Race at the weekend, it’s good to see how I’m going at this time of year.”
Nicolas Roche was also competing, and while the current National Time Trial Champion has been performing strongly in the TTs this year, recording results like 8th in the European Championships last month, today was not his day.