Three Irish riders were in action today at the UCI 2016 Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar. In the Elite Women’s 28.9km Time Trial newcomer Anna Turvey finished in 28th place with a time of 40.51.89, while first year juniors Ronan Tuomey and Xeno Young were 42nd (38:22.18) and 43rd (38.23.01) respectively in their Time Trial.
With the temperatures reaching 40 degrees, the heat played a part in day’s proceedings for all riders. The women’s race was won by USA’s Amber Nemen, with Brandon McNulty of USA winning the men’s junior race.
In the Elite Women’s race Turvey, who was making her World Championship debut, competed in temperatures as high as 40 degrees, which dictated how the race unfolded.
“The conditions were brutal,” Turvey said. “I went off a bit conservatively, knowing how hard it was going to be. It was 40 degrees with a hot wind. Within 2 minutes I had cotton mouth, cotton throat and cotton chest!”
“At the start of the second lap the heat hit hard. I just kept losing power. I told myself to just keep going, as it’s the same for everyone. I could see my numbers were well down and thought ‘come on, you are really going as hard as you can,’ then I threw up, which reassured me that I was!”
“My average power was down by about 15%, but my heart rate was where it would normally be. At home I tried to do as much as I could to prepare, by sitting in a steam room and sauna for as long as I could bear, and also spent time in the environmental chamber at Northumbria University, they set it to 35 degrees and 50% humidity.”
Having burst onto the Irish scene competing at the World Championships is just the icing on the cake for Turvey: “My main ambitions this year were to win the National TT Champs, and to try to break the National TT records. Getting to the Worlds was a bit of a ridiculous ambition at the beginning of the year, but I’ve had a great season.”
“I’m better than I’ve ever been. This has been a really awesome experience. I can’t quite believe I’m here. The support from the Irish team has been amazing and I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’m getting. Racing at this level, getting support from very experienced former riders [on the support team] and meeting the other riders and learning from them is amazing.”
In the junior event Tuomey and Young were competing as first year juniors. Young was the first Irish cyclist in action today, and was also taken aback by the heat: “The last few days we were trying to get used to the heat; even when you are out training you are trying to get your usual power output, but your heart rate is higher. But I’m happy with how I went. We did quite well against the other first year juniors, and I think that’s a good indicator for what’s going to happen next year.”
While Young is riding in his first year as junior, he has already competed at a high level this year, finishing fourth earlier this year in the Pursuit at the European Track Championships. Despite this the Powerhouse Sport rider noted that the Road World Championships was another new experience: “It’s an amazing experience just knowing so many people are watching, especially on the live stream. My sister texted me this morning saying that she almost missed her bus to school because she was watching it!”
“I’m in lower sixth in school, and I think one of my school teachers had it on too. From the track and the Euros I thought I knew what to expect mentally, with the nerves and stuff, but this morning my nerves were worse than ever. They just kicked in and I realised that ‘whoa, I’m actually doing this!’ Last night I was sitting down with Nico [Nicolas Roche] talking about race strategies. It’s an amazing experience!”
Tuomey was also motivated from the experience, describing a fast 28.9km course: “The course is completely flat, one or two tiny drags over a river, but you wouldn’t even count them. It’s pretty technical, but there are only 3 places where you actually have to brake. While the results mightn’t be too spectacular, this is a great experience just seeing what the level is at.”
“It’s a different level of racing, I got to race McNulty [eventual winner] at the Nations Cup and he was 40 seconds faster than the field, so I knew he would be fast today. It really makes me look forward to next year, provided I get selected.”