Making her World Championship debut today at the 2017 UCI Road World Championships, Eileen Burns finished 40th in the Elite Women’s 21.1km Time Trial. Dutch riders dominated the top steps of the podium with Annemiek Van Vleuten winning ahead of her team mate Anna Van Der Breggen. Australia’s Katrin Garfoot rounded off the podium with bronze.
Earlier on Tuesday morning juniors Xeno Young and Ben Walsh were 30th and 45th respectively on the same circuit in the Junior Men’s Time Trial, both within two minutes of the winner, Thomas Pidcock (GB).
Speaking after her race Burns described a technical circuit – “There was a bit of everything today – the longest climb was a kilometre long with some fast, flowing descents. There were two underground tunnels that you descended into, as well as two 180 degree turns and a cobbled section! And the crowds were class!”
Although it was her first World Championship event, the Ballymena rider was not daunted – “It’s my first World Championships – I crashed in Denmark at the European Championships so I really wanted to do well today and give my best performance. I know I’m competing against the best in the world, but I wasn’t daunted out there. Once you’re off the ramp you could be anywhere in the world. I don’t think about anyone else – you’re on your own, and race your own race.”
Although it was an individual time trial, it was a team effort in Bergen at the race, with U23 racer Michael O’Loughlin providing support by radio –“It was great having Michael on the radio. He wrote notes for me beforehand, and he told me where it was safe to put the power down. Because he was feeding that to me I felt safe when I put on the pressure.”
Competing against the best has left Burns hungry for more – “I’m still working; I work as an Occupational Therapist, so am on annual leave at the moment – I’ll be back in work on Thursday! It was good to compete against professional riders, and I feel I can give so much more. I’d love to get selected for the Commonwealth Games next year, and see if I took time off work to train where it would take me.”
Junior Men’s Team Manager Martin O’Loughlin was pleased with the performances of both Young and Walsh earlier today, highlighting the long successful season that both riders have had – “They both were technically good and went as hard as they could on the day, especially considering the phenomenal seasons that they both have had.”
In July Walsh won the prestigious Junior Tour of Ireland, while Young won medals in both the European Track Championships and the World Track Championships.
“Some of the riders were stronger at the stage of the season, and Pidcock (winner) is a super talent. But you look at Ben in the Junior Tour and the Nations Cup in France and Germany this summer, and the European and World medals that Xeno won – it was a long season and they were decent performances,” O’Loughlin pointed out.
Today is the final Time Trial day at the World Championships, before the focus switches to the Road Races, and Nicholas Roche will be competing in the Elite Men’s Time Trial. The 31km race against the clock will see the riders finish on a 3.4km climb.
The World Road Championships run from the 17-24 September, during which eighteen Irish riders compete across eight events.
ELITE WOMEN’S TIME TRIAL
Gold Annemiek Van Vleuten (NED) 28:50.35
Silver Anna Van Der Breggen (NED) +12.16
Bronze Katrin Garfoot (AUS) +18.93
40th Eileen Burns +4.11.69
JUNIOR MEN’S TIME TRIAL
Gold Thomas Pidcock (GBR) 28:02.15
Silver Antonio Puppio (ITA) +11.92
Bronze Filip Maciijuk (POL) +13.29
30th Xeno Young +1.34.63
45th Ben Walsh +1.56.66