Siobhan Horgan makes her seventh appearance at a World Championships today but it’ll be her first since 2012 and her maiden attempt at the time-trial, having always done the road race before now.
She’s the sole Irish competitor entered in the race against the clock but after blitzing the opposition at the National Championships in June, she’s hopeful of a good result in Richmond, Virginia, where the event takes place.
“I’m probably at the same level as I was at the nationals but without a break so I’m hoping I can be as good as then, or better,” she suggested.
“I’ve never really featured in a time-trial when I was a professional – I’d be the one hopping on the bike five minutes before the race, but I’m really excited now.
“It’s different to the road race in so many ways; you could be the strongest there and tactics go against you but in the time-trial it’s a more honest effort.” Having quit the sport three years ago and taken up duathlon, the 36 year-old was diagnosed with a stress fracture that had been dormant fortwo years.
The recovery period was 12 months of total rest from running – so duathlons were shelved and it was back to the sport she did professionally for eight years.
“I was focused on the duathlons and wanted to go to World and European Championships this year,” she explained.
“I started training last November but was diagnosed with a stress fracture that had been there fortwo years.
“I went into a bit of a depression and felt really sorry for myself for a few days.
“So my husband John said I should go back cycling with no pressure for results – just for fun, so I did and it’s been great.”
Horgan has raced against some of the best male riders all year and always fared well, but the season changed course when she demolished the field at elite women’s national championships.
“I was training under the guidance of my clubmate Greg Swinand who’s a bit of a guru at time-trials.
“I was trying not to take it too seriously, thinking I’d never be the same level as before when I was professional but I did a good Rás Mumhan, I tried not to over-train which I may have been guilty of before and then I set my sights on the national TT.
“I managed to win that so I said ‘maybe I should take this more seriously’.”
Indeed, with selection for the World Championships all but guaranteed she knuckled down once more, this time with an army of support personnel around her.
Helping greatly by pacing her in training was Corkman Gerald Long, while her employers, Abbvie, have been no less influential.
“I wouldn’t know where to start with thanking people for getting me to this point.
“My husband John has been really great, Greg’s always looking for gains here and there, Gerald (Long) is always there when I want him.
“My employers Abbvie are so into it now too, they’ve been so supportive – I couldn’t ask for a better place to work.” It hasn’t been entirely straight-forward for her, mind, with various stomach illnesses ruling her out of training for up to a week at a time this summer.
“The thing about the TT is you don’t need to race as much as road races to get you ready; I won the nationals and didn’t do one for five weeks before it,” she surmised.
“The competition is fierce and I’m sure I’ll be very nervous but that’s maybe a good thing.” The race starts at 7pm Irish time.
Meanwhile, Ryan Mullen finished 11th in the men’s U23 time-trial in Richmond last night, clocking a time of 38.00 for the 30-kilometre test.
The gold medal went to Mars Wurtz (Denmark) in 37:10 with Max Schachmann (Germany) going 13 seconds slower and his fellow countryman Lennard Kamna a further eight seconds back.
Eddie Dunbar, finished in a time of 39:45 in 38th while earlier in the evening, Ciara Doogan (Errigal CC) was 28th fastest out of 37 finishers in the women’s junior time trial.
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