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Walsh and Meehan claim world paracycling track title

Posted 10 February 2012

Irish cycling has two new world champions with the women’s tandem team of Catherine Walsh and her pilot Francie Meehan having claimed gold at the UCI 2012 Paracycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles.

There was double cause for Irish cycling in the men’s tandem when James Brown and pilot Damian Shaw won the silver medal in the pursuit event.

The Irish team got off to the best possible start at the event which took place at the Home Depot Velodrome in Carson L.A.  

In the 3km Female Tandem Pursuit Qualifiers Walsh and Meehan set a new Irish Record of 3:37.392 to finish in first place and guarantee a ride off for the Gold Medal in the afternoon’s finals.

Irish tandem newcomers Katie-George Dunlevy and Pilot Sandra Fitzgerald showed that they will be future contenders when setting a PB time of 3:48.767 to give them an excellent 7th place finish in the qualifiers.

 
Not to be outdone our male tandem pairing of James Brown and pilot Damien Shaw also qualified for a Gold Medal ride off when their new Irish Record time of 4:26.778 secured them 2nd place in the 4km Pursuit qualifiers and a chance to ride off for Gold against the Australian tandem in the finals.
 
Close behind them in an excellent 6th place were Andrew Fitzgerald and pilot Con Collis in a personal best time of 4:33.334 which would have been a new Irish Record except for James & Damien going faster in their heat.
 
In this afternoon’s finals Catherine and Fran were in the first Final Ride off against the British Tandem pairing of Aileen Mc Glynn and Helen Scott. 

They rode a  superbly paced race as the British duo built up almost a second lead by the half-way stage but Catherine & Fran picked up the pace.

The dynamic duo not only pulled back the British pair but had almost 3 seconds to spare when they crossed the line. Their performance had the stadium on their feet with applause.
 
In the men’s final it was a slightly different story as the Australian duo of Bryce Lindores and Scott McPhee opened a good lead right from the start and in spite of James and Damien closing them down a bit in the last few laps they still had 3 seconds to spare at the finish and were deserving winners. 

Tomorrow sees Ireland’s 3 single bikes of Colin Lynch C2, Enda Smyth C3 and Cathal Miller C5 in action in the Pursuit Qualifiers in the morning and hopefully some more Irish riders in the finals in the afternoon.  All four tandems will also be back in action in the 1km Individual Time Trial in the afternoon session. 

Big congratulations are also due to the support staff of Coach Brian Nugent, Mechanics Gerry Beggs and Paddy Davis, Masseuse Fionnuala Kirby and Performance Analyst Alan Swanton for the great part they all played in helping to secure Ireland’s First ever Paracycling World Championship Track Rainbow Jerseys.

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