TEAN NI: Martyn Irvine plans another gold assault in velodrome

Martyn Irvine (centre) in the 40km points race before he had to retire
Martyn Irvine (centre) in the 40km points race before he had to retire

Martyn Irvine will be back fighting for a Commonwealth Games medal on Sunday in spite of the disappointment of retiring from the points race at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Irvine had gotten off to a good start in the gruelling 40km, 160 lap race and gained an early lap on the field with a number of other riders but then began to struggle and pulled out with 73 laps remaining.

Coach Brian Nugent explained: “It’s obviously an unusual thing to happen to Martyn. He was very down afterwards but we had a chat and looked at what happened. There were five teams with three riders helping each other and Martyn got caught and the way the race unfolded there was no way he could control those five teams and as the race went on he began to see what was happening and that only ten riders finished the whole event and so it’s not as bad as he first thought.”

At a world cup or world championships each nation is only allowed to enter one rider in the race so that team tactics don’t come into play and that it is as fair as it can be but in the Commonwealth Games each country can enter up to three riders and in the end it became a battle between a trio of New Zealanders and three riders from the Isle of Man led by Team Sky rider and GB international Peter Kennaugh.

The Kiwis would stay together to the end and that allowed Thomas Scully to take gold ahead of Kennaugh with Scully’s team mate Aaron Gate in third.

Nugent added: “That’s not the usual way a points race goes, it usually starts off pretty fast for the first twenty laps and then there’s a lull and then it goes again but for Martyn, he was out there on his own and its difficult when you come from a small country. They kept attacking and attacking and he found himself alone and with nothing left in his legs.”

However Nugent is confident the 2013 World Scratch Race champion will be ready to race again on Sunday.

“Martyn will be back for the scratch race, don’t worry about that, he’s been a world champion in it and he regenerates pretty quickly and we’ve already spoken about the next race and he’ll be back and ready to fight for that medal.

“He knew it wasn’t going to be his day, he came in, there’s no injury and he’ll be ready to go on Sunday. The last time he pulled out of a points race was in a European Championship and he won the next day.”

He added: “It’s a shorter race with more of an element of control about it. Its only 60 laps as opposed to 160 so for Martyn it’s a special event for him, he knows where to be at the right time. It will be difficult again with the teams but he can infiltrate that a little bit better and this is the event he came here to do.”