Ireland’s Josie Knight has won a silver medal in the junior women’s individual pursuit at the UEC U23/Junior European Track Championships in Anadia, Portugal.
Knight earlier qualified for the final as the fastest qualifier, posting 2:29.467 for the 2km race against the clock, guaranteeing her a medal in the gold medal ride-off against Russia’s Daria Egorova, who had qualified a close second.
In the final, the Russian started fast, and maintained her lead to take the European title. Knight won the silver medal, an incredible achievement in her first major track championship.
The championships began on Tuesday and will continue until Sunday.
Knight, who is a first year junior, was the first rider on the track, and knocked six seconds off the previous national record, with her time of 2:29.467.
In the final the Kerry rider once again rode a solid race, but Egorova proved to be too strong, pushing ahead by a second.
Head coach Brian Nugent was delighted with Knight’s performance: “That was a great performance, we are absolutely delighted. This is the first ever [Irish] junior woman medalling at this level; she beat the old record by six seconds.”
Ryan Mullen finished the U23 men’s individual pursuit in fifth place, agonisingly close to the bronze medal final.
Mullen won a bronze medal in the event last year, and came fourth in the Senior World Championships in Cali earlier this year.
However, over the last few months Mullen has focused on the road, having won the national road and time trial titles in the Irish Championships in June.
Dylan Foley also competed in this event, finishing in 19th place.
Cycling Ireland has been focusing on developing a pathway in track cycling over the past number of years and Nugent is happy with the progress so far.
“Each year we have expanded the programme, and invested more in development, and it is great to see so much aspiring new talent coming through," he said.
"We have strong junior men and women’s teams, so today it is great to see Ireland’s first medal for junior women. This is good for the talent that is coming through also.”