Paralympic Cycling: O’Reilly gets bittersweet 4th place in final

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Team Ireland had one member of very successful cyclists taking to the roads of Tokyo early this morning

Gary O’Reilly – H5 Men’s Time Trial Final

This morning at 01:30, Gary O’Reilly took to his handcycle for the men’s Time Trial final. This was his second race of what is his debut at the Paralympic Games.

The young cyclist is still probably relishing his bronze medal finish in the time trial yesterday. He has become one of the tournament’s biggest surprises having only taken up the sport in 2017 after a workplace injury in 2014.

He has now laid a marker as one to watch for the rest of the competition and now with the final this morning he could prove he is one of the best in the world in his category.

 

This would be a much longer race than the final yesterday with this event stretching over 79.2km.

The Laois man did not get off to his strongest of starts as he tried to steady himself. Going by his historic race yesterday, he is a much better cyclist after the halfway mark, being able to push himself hard.

After 53km in the race, O’Reilly had himself sitting in fifth place needing a lot more work if he was to make the medal places. Over the next 20km, he pushed himself hard and work his way into fourth but it was not enough for a medal.

He finished in a time of 2:24:57 only 27 seconds behind the gold medallist, Netherland’s unstoppable cyclist Valize. A close silver went to France’s Vergnaud and bronze went to Netherland’s De Vries.

This will be a tough result for O’Reilly after fighting back only to lose out on a medal by 17 seconds.

On a more positive note, this race has now ensured that he will be remembered as one of the world’s strongest handcyclists, competing consistently and he will look forward to Paris in three years’ time.

 

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