Seven months after he suffered a bad leg fracture in the Tour of Taiwan, Martyn Irvine has bounced back from that injury with an excellent third place in the omnium at the Track Cycling European Championships in the Netherlands.
The Irishman took bronze in the multi-round competition, winning the points race yesterday, and performing strongly in the concluding disciplines today to secure a podium finish.
The event was won by the Russian rider Victor Manakov, with the Dutchman Tim Veldt netting silver.
Irvine made history last February when he became the first Irishman in 117 years to win gold at the Track Cycling World Championships. He was best in the scratch race, winning that event just over an hour after taking silver in the individual pursuit.
His performance this weekend will be hugely reassuring for him, as it shows he is back on track in his bid to defend his title early next year.
He and his UnitedHealthcare road racing team are hoping for a wildcard invite to the Giro d'Italia, which begins next May in Belfast.
"We are over the moon with the medal, Martyn is over the moon" - Brian Nugent
Speaking from Apeldoorn, head coach Brian Nugent said: “It’s remarkable how Martyn has fought to come back to that, all credit to him.
"He has worked hard with the squad over the past month in Majorca, going to races in Aigle and Gent, then he was unlucky to get sick last week.
"He was disappointed with the points race on Friday, so just took it as him opening the system.
"In the omnium on Saturday and Sunday he was back in form.
"We are over the moon with the medal, Martyn is over the moon.”
Also racing this weekend were Caroline Ryan and Eoin Mullen.
Ryan finished tenth in the omnium, which is her top placing in the Olympic discipline.
Mullen also made a step forward in his progression, qualifying for the match sprint rounds in the sprint event, against Europe’s top sprinters.