Ryan Closes The 2014 UEC Track Elite European Championships With 13th Place In Omnium

Ireland's Caroline Ryan finished in 13th place in the Omnium after two days of intense racing at the 2014 UEC Track Elite European Championships in Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe. The former international rower started superbly in the six event competition, with two seventh place finishes in the Scratch Race and Individual Pursuit, before falling a few places to finish 13th overall after the Points Race last night. This brought to a close what was a positive Championship for the young and developing Irish team, who competed across Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines in the French Caribbean Velodrome in what was the first step in the Rio Olympic Qualification Process. The European Championships ran from Wednesday the 15th October to Sunday the 19th October.

In the Keirin events both Shannon McCurley and Eoin Mullen were competing, and while they advanced to the repechage rounds, they fell short of qualifying for the Semi-Finals in the World Class field. For both McCurley and Mullen this is the start of the Rio qualification process, as they have both qualified in the Keirin for the World Cup series already, which will be a great experience for the riders who are both U23. Melanie Spath was also in action, making her track cycling debut at the European Championships this week. Yesterday Spath competed in the Individual Pursuit, where she finished a respectable 16th place, with plenty of room for improvement with practice.

Head Coach Brian Nugent was pleased with the overall performance of the Irish team, especially considering the age and stage of development of the majority of the riders, saying "I'm pleased with the overall team performance. There's a lot of potential in this young team and it's a team we will continue to support. You can see from the team pursuit performances the strength that we have in numbers. The majority of the team are under 23 and they have gained a lot of experience from this. They have started on a pathway that will take time and can't be rushed. They majority of this group you will see at their best in 5 or 6 years' time."

The next competition for the Irish team is the first World Cup, which takes place in Guadalahara, Mexico from the 7th - 9th November.