When the discussion comes up at the end of the year as to who should be the Northern Ireland Sports Star of 2013 then Martyn Irvine’s name will be close to, if not at the top of the list.
The Newtownards cyclist competes this weekend in the first of the Track World Cup classics of the season in Manchester as the current world champion in the scratch race and silver medalist in the individual pursuit.
That unforgettable sixty minutes in Belarus in February was put into perspective a month later when a crash while racing for his professional team in Taiwan saw him break his hip leading to months of inactivity as he went through the process of recovery.
Last month, incredibly, he was back on the podium, claiming bronze in the men’s omnium at the European Championships.
“Once I got back on the bike I just wanted to get back competing again and when I got to the Europeans I thought I might sneak something in the points race but I was sick and that didn’t go well. I went into the omnium, really just for training to be honest but I was relaxed and the rehab I’d done was really to build up my strength and that held me together and got me through.”