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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Papon Bernard/INPHO Sam Bennett winning the green jersey at the Tour de France.
# Road to Tokyo
No room for Sam Bennett as Ireland's Olympic road cycling team named
Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche and Eddie Dunbar were officially announced for the road race today.

SAM BENNETT HAS been left out of Team Ireland’s road cycling team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer due to the hilly terrain.

Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche and Eddie Dunbar were officially announced for the road race today, with Roche – competing at his fourth Games – also competing in the time trial.

Roche made his Olympic debut at Beijing 2008, while Dunbar will do likewise this summer. Martin, a cousin of Roche’s, tackles his third Games.

The Olympic road race takes place at the Fuji International Speedway on Saturday, 24 July, and the time trial starts at the same venue the following Wednesday, 28 July.

The 244km course is a mountainous one that takes in the lower slopes of Mount Fuji, climbing a total of 4,865m, which could suit climber Martin. The time trial is 44.2km long, two laps of the 22.1km course.

“Qualification for the Olympic Games in Road Cycling is based on National Rankings with UCI,” a statement reads, “and on the back of phenomenal results from Irish riders in the professional circuit, in particular Sam Bennett, Ireland secured three spots in the Games in Tokyo, as well as a Time Trial spot. Unfortunately, the parcours for this Olympic Road Race were too hilly for Ireland’s sprint specialist.”

“It’s a real honour for me to be competing in Tokyo, it’s something that I have dreamed about,” Corkman Dunbar said.

“In Banteer, where I’m from, there’s a strong Olympic heritage. Ireland’s first gold medallist, Pat O’Callaghan, was from near where I live. This makes competing all the more special.”

Team Ireland Road Cycling Team Leader, Tommy Evans, said: “We have one of our strongest teams ever assembled with a real opportunity to perform on terrain that we know suits our team. Nicholas, Dan and Eddie have all produced fantastic results this season, showing we can compete with the best in the world.

“Congratulations to all riders, for each one of them this is a wonderful achievement,” Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle, added.

“For their sport they are also part of the biggest Cycling team to represent Ireland in an Olympic Games. The course in Shizuoka will be challenging but I’m confident our team will take it on in a way that befits the spirit of Team Ireland.

“I wish Dan, Eddie and Nicholas all the best in their final preparations and look forward to supporting them at the Games.”

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Meanwhile, a remarkable fallout continues between Bennett and Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere, as reported by Cycling News, after the rider’s late withdrawal from the Tour de France.

***

Team Ireland now consists of 59 officially selected athletes, with over 100 athletes spots confirmed across 19 sports (SEE HERE).

The final team announcement is scheduled for the beginning of July. The Olympic Games in Tokyo will run from the 23 July to 8 August 2021.

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