Ireland got their 2023 Road European Championships off to a solid start in Drenthe, Netherlands, yesterday, Wednesday, September 20th, as Individual Time Trials took centre stage.
Across an action-packed day, Junior and U23 riders took on a 20.6km route while Elite riders tackled a slightly longer 29.5km course. A flat course with strong wind becoming a factor, the courses favoured the more powerful riders – particularly in the closing kilometres.
Ireland enjoyed an encouraging day across the board, including two top-ten performances and several positive displays as ten riders took to the start.
It was an early start for Ireland as three riders took to the start line for the Junior Women’s Time Trial. Lucy Benezet Minns put in a solid performance to add a 10th-place finish to her 4th-place finish in last month’s World Championships.
An encouraging ride from Aine Doherty saw her finish in 33rd while Julia Murphy, making her first performance for Ireland at a major championships, finished in 41st place.
The Junior Men’s Time Trial followed, with a stellar field at the start line, Adam Rafferty finished 10th among Europe’s best junior riders. Liam O’Brien and Patrick Casey rode well to earn 28th and 38th place finishes respectively.
In the U23 Men’s Time Trial, Darren Rafferty battled well throughout to earn a 12th place finish in a course that didn’t quite suit his best attributes, with strong winds in the final 5km seeing him lose some time.
An impressive ride from Dean Harvey saw him finish in 13th overall, a positive performance reflecting his recent focus on the discipline while also improving on his 19th place at last month’s World Championships.
Kelly Murphy put in a strong performance to take a 13th place finish in the Elite Women’s Time Trial. The result comes after her 30th place finish at last month’s World Championships.
Ryan Mullen rounded out the day with a top 20 finish in the Elite Men’s Time Trial. Mullen put in a strong display to earn a 17th place finish and follow up his 19th place at the World Championships.
Ireland are back in action on Friday, September 22nd, with the U23 Men’s and Women’s road races seeing several Irish riders in action.
In the U23 Women’s Road Race (1:30-4:10pm Irish time), Lara Gillespie spearheads an Ireland team also featuring the in-form Caoimhe and Aoife O’Brien.
Five riders will represent Ireland in the U23 Men’s Road Race (8:30-11:45am Irish time).
Darren Rafferty, Dean Harvey, Kevin McCambridge, Odhran Doogan and Jamie Meehan take to the line as the team concludes a strong season following last month’s World Championships and Tour de l’Avenir.
Road European Championships Results – Day One
Junior Women ITT
Lucy Benezet Minns – 10th
Aine Doherty – 33rd
Julia Murphy – 41st
Junior Men ITT
Adam Rafferty – 10th
Liam O’Brien – 28th
Patrick Casey – 38th
U23 Men ITT
Darren Rafferty – 12th
Dean Harvey – 13th
Elite Women ITT
Kelly Murphy – 13th
Elite Men ITT
Ryan Mullen – 17th