Clifford wins Scratch Race world title in Netherlands

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Eoghan Clifford has won the World Title in the Men’s C1-2-3 Scratch Race at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.

This adds to the Bronze medal that the reigning Road and Time Trial World Champion won in the Pursuit event on Friday.

Clifford rode a strong race keeping the pace high in the earlier stages, before attacking with about 25 laps remaining, and lapping the field.

The silver medal went to Joseph Berenyi (USA) and bronze to Eduardo Santas Asensio (ESP).

Colin Lynch was also competing with Clifford in this event, but suffered from a puncture in the closing laps when he was forced to retire from the race.

Clifford burst onto the international Paracycling scene last summer, when he won both the Road and Time Trial World Titles at the Paracycling Road World Championships in the USA, and competed on the track for the first time this February, after being introduced to the track in January.

However, the seasoned Galway based road racer put his experience to use by making a perfectly timed move in the Scratch Race.

“I stayed near the back for the first few laps, but when the attacks started after five-six laps I knew my legs were good,” he said.

“I’m not an explosive rider so I rode high on the track so I could cover moves, and when the pace died I put in a good hard dig to tire out people. With about 25 laps to go I put in one big huge attack when I saw the main guys boxed in, and I just kept going.

“Once I caught the main group I rode through to the front to keep out of danger and keep an eye on the rest,” he added.

This was Clifford’s first ever Scratch Race, and he attributed his tactical awareness to video work and preparation he did with 2014 Madison World Champion David Muntaner, who lives in Majorca, which is the track base for the Irish team.