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Ireland's Mullen content despite agonising near miss at World Championships

The reigning National road race and time trial champion was 48 hundredths of a second behind the winner.

Ryan Mullen (An Post Chain Reaction) narrowly missed out on a victory today.
Ryan Mullen (An Post Chain Reaction) narrowly missed out on a victory today.
Image: Ciaran Fallon/INPHO

RYAN MULLEN TODAY became the first Irish rider in history to bag a medal in a time-trial at the World Cycling Championships and the 20-year-old An Post Chain Reaction man said that despite going so close to gold, he was content with second place.

The reigning National road race and time trial champion was a measly 48 hundredths of a second behind winner, Campbell Flakemore, and could hardly believe his eyes when the Australian crossed the line to usurp him of top spot on the podium.

“I thought I might hang on but I emptied myself, I took as many risks as I could,” he said afterwards. “At the end of the day the better guy won. It’s pretty disappointing to come so close to getting a world title. I’ve been coming the last few years and progressed slowly and I progressed enough this year to challenge for a title but I’m pretty happy to get this silver,” he added.

Last year, Mullen finished seventh and following on from some superb times against the clock all season, he was rightly installed as a pre-race favourite. And he underlined that billing when he tore through the first two time-checks well ahead of his rivals, despite some really wet and dangerous conditions.

Still, with three riders to go, it looked like Ireland would secure the gold, until a fast finishing Flakemore clawed back the deficit to snatch it.

“I looked up at the board and saw I was first,” he said after he pushed long-time leader Rafael Reis of Portugal into second. “I was pretty happy then but only realised when I sat down in the hot seat — where the virtual leader sits — and saw the splits on the screen how far up I was. At the bottom of the final climb Campbell was 15 seconds down on me, so obviously I didn’t ride the climb too well because he pulled it back, but he was stronger on the day.”

Head coach Brian Nugent labelled it one of the best-ever performances by an Irish rider he had witnessed.

“That’s one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from an Irish rider. He rode the course perfectly, and couldn’t do any more; he was very unlucky to miss out on the gold. That was a world class performance; he made no mistakes. I’m really pleased with his progress, Ryan has just established himself as a world class rider, I couldn’t be happier with that.”

Asked if he’ll be staying with his current team, An Post Chain Reaction, in 2015 Muller responded;

“As it stands I’ve not had any other offers, I’m very happy where I am at An Post Chain Reaction. They give me a really good setup and they understand my track commitments, so it’s a good programme and they’re flexible with what I want to do. They’re selective as well with putting me into races that suit the kind of rider I am.

“I think, at the moment, if a professional contract came along it’d be nice but I think I’m still too young. I’m not physically or mentally ready to move up to that level. It’d be nice to be offered and I’d certainly consider it but I think maybe another year at Continental level to develop myself as a rider and try to get results will help me to move on in the world.”

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