Team Ireland has confirmed their riders for the upcoming European Cycling Championships, which will be held in Munich between 11-21 of August.
The team of 15 will be involved in road racing, track racing in the velodrome and, for the first time, BMX freestyle events.
Sam Bennett will lead the men's team in the road race after the disappointment of missing out on selection for his Bora-Hansgrohe team for the Tour de France. The 209.4-kilometre course will take riders from Murnau am Staffelsee into Munich, where they will finish with five laps of a loop in the city centre.
Bennett will be joined by teammate and key lead-out man, Ryan Mullen along with Irish Champion, Rory Townsend, Eddie Dunbar and Matthew Taggart. Ben Healy, 2022 Time Trial National Champion, will focus solely on the Time Trial. Ryan Mullen, previously fourth at the European Championships will ride both the road race and time trial.
Alice Sharpe and Mia Griffin will represent Ireland in the women’s road race. Sharpe comes into the race in good form having won the Irish Champions jersey at the end of June. Griffin, better known for her track racing pedigree, has also impressed on the road with a top-10 finish on the final stage of Baloise Ladies Tour in recent weeks.
Kelly Murphy and Joanna Patterson will ride the 24km Women’s European Championship Time Trial. The pair finished first and second in the Time Trial National Championships with Murphy edging out Patterson by a mere 1.12 seconds over the 32-kilometer course.
The track events run from 11-16 of August and will see seven Irish athletes take to the boards. JB Murphy, Alice Share, Mia Griffin, Kelly Murphy, Emily Kay and Lara Gillespie will focus on the endurance events while Orla Walsh will focus on the sprint disciplines.
JB Murphy scooped a superb bronze medal in the Scratch race last year adding to the bronze won by the Women’s Team Pursuit squad in the 2021 European Championships. Ireland’s track riders will be targeting more success as they compete in a wide range of events throughout the week.
In an exciting development for the sport, Ireland will have representation in BMX Freestyle Park for the first time at a European Championships. Ryan Henderson discovered BMX after breaking his neck in a motocross accident aged 16. The east Belfast athlete has been on a remarkable journey since then and hopes to continue that progression at the European Championships and ultimately become Ireland’s first freestyle representative at an Olympic Games.
Team Ireland for European Championships
Men’s Road Race: Sam Bennett, Ryan Mullen, Eddie Dunbar, Rory Townsend, Matthew Taggart.
Men’s Time Trial: Ben Healy, Ryan Mullen.
Women’s Road Race: Alice Sharpe, Mia Griffin.
Women’s Time Trial: Kelly Murphy, Joanna Patterson.
Men’s Track: JB Murphy. Women’s Track: Alice Sharpe, Mia Griffin, Kelly Murphy, Emily Kay, Lara Gillespie, Orla Walsh.
BMX Freestyle Park: Ryan Henderson.