Ireland's European and Para-Cycling Road World Championships got off to an impressive start today, with Ryan Henderson qualifying for the BMX freestyle final, Gary O’Reilly coming close to a medal in the time trial, and the team pursuit squad securing a place in the next round.

Ireland’s first representative in BMX freestyle at a European Championships pulled out all the stops in his heat to land himself a spot in the final on Saturday.

The east Belfast athlete had two chances to prove himself against a strong field of riders.

From front flips to double-backflips, Henderson gave it his all and was awarded 66 points (out of 99.9) for his first run and went marginally better in his second run to get 66.04 points, finishing with an average score of 66.02, which was enough to see him qualify in 11th place for the final on Saturday.

Ireland’s women’s team pursuit squad of Emily Kay, Kelly Murphy, Mia Griffin and Alice Sharpe completed the 4,000m team pursuit in a time of four minutes 26.028 seconds.

The time was enough to see them through to the first round which takes place on Friday as they qualified in sixth overall.

On the opening day of competition at the Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Canada, Paralympic bronze medallist O’Reilly narrowly missed out on a medal in the time trial.

The Portlaoise hand-cyclist came agonisingly close to grasping the bronze medal from Luis Costa of Portugal. O’Reilly completed the 18.9km course in 30:36.88, over three seconds down on the Portuguese rider and 2:18.12 down on gold medal winner Mitch Valize (Netherlands). Loic Vergnaud of France claimed the silver medal.

Declan Slevin was also in action today competing in the H3 time trial, where he finished in 12th position.