We had our first UCI ranked cyclo cross last weekend in Ireland (Belfast) and this had a very positive effect world ranking wise. The efforts of a small shop in Belfast, his owner and volunteers paid off in a big way. Glenn Kinning (promoter and competitor) and Andy Layhe ( National CX co-ordinator) got talking while being in the continent with the Irish National Team for the World Championships in Valkenburg (NL). A plan was made, and after long months of preparing they proudly could announced the UCI has approved a Class 2 ranking event on the world UCI calendar! Sponsors in place, crowd funding as support, local support from many co -sponsors and an army of volunteers seeked the show was on the road..and a show it was..North-West-South and East of Irish finest cyclocrossers had entered including even a Belgian in the Elite men section, fierce battles and worthy winners in the bargain. The UCI points a goal for many and this effected the world ranking in a very positive way (see report of Andy Layhe below) To keep an positive effect to this rankings our top athletes will need to travel to the continental crosses and keep the momentum we have now going. This off course cost money as sponsors can not pay for it all, mostly the costs get covered out of their own pockets in many cases as the High Performance allocated budget for the CX part of the sport is a very poor £2500 !!! and that mostly get swallowed by entering the World Champs in January. Funding ideas are now been discussed and we will up date you on this when solid info received. But overall this part of the sport has flourished with each week hundreds participating and becomes very popular with the under age racing what is promising for the future. As we have seen the Irish are very welcomed in the continent, his supporters renowned for dressing up and adding atmosphere to each event they visit. All very positive signs of a new nation emerging at the horizon of cyclo cross..lets hope this can be sustained and get the support it deserves. Some interesting facts about how Ireland and our riders sit in the UCI world rankings ( Andy Layhe reports)
On the UCI World nation ranking for juniors, Ireland sits an astounding 4th in the world ahead of some notable nations. This ranking does wonders for our gridding at the world championships.
Junior Adam McGarr sits an incredible 8th in the world with Belfast’s Lee Harvey in 12th, another brilliant achievement. Ciaran Dixon, first year junior sits 19th and Donal Walsh 29th.
Maria Larkin, winner in Belfast jumps 50 places to 121st in world with Michelle Geoghegan 144th. Lara Gillespie, despite still being junior, breaks the top 100 in the worlds elite to sit 99th. Nation ranking wise, Ireland’s world ranking for U23/Junior women jump to 9th in the world. Women’s elite nation ranking rises to 19th from 31 nations.
Men’s U23 world ranking goes up to 19th from 28 nations. Conroy rises to 128th in Elite men ranking with current national champion Darnell Moore in 130th position. Slow and steady progress over recent years. All this is achieved on a High Performance budget of only €2500 per year, minimal in terms of other disciplines such as road, track and BMX. A big thank you to all riders, race organisers and parents of younger riders who all do their part to make cyclocross a success here. More photos of David Mc Veigh (Belgian Project media team) on link below of our inaugural CX in Ireland