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The first round of the UCI Track Nations Cup takes place in Glasgow at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome from April 21 to 24. The event marks the beginning of a new chapter as Ireland’s track cyclists return to top-level competition and continue their preparation for much anticipated European Championships in Munich and World Championships in Paris in October. Securing a berth at the 2022 World Track Championships will be a major goal this season as athletes will have the opportunity to gain experience ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games to be held in Paris.
Ireland will be represented at the Glasgow UCI Track Nations Cup by Emily Kay, Alice Sharpe, Mia Griffin, Kelly Murphy and JB Murphy competing in a range of endurance events. Conor Rowley has secured his first call up to Irish Cycling Team and will compete in the Keirin and Sprint events in Glasgow.
A new name for many, Australian-born Rowley qualifies to ride for Ireland through his mother Geraldine McNamara who hails from Kilrush in County Clare and moved to Australia in her twenties. Rowley, who turns 24 today (Thursday) is a former Junior World Champion in the Keirin and has demonstrated his ability at the senior elite level having travelled with the support of his family to races around Europe and Australia over the past 12-months.
After an extended period in lockdown in Australia Rowley travelled to Dublin for the Track National Championships in August of last year. He then moved to Palma to intensify his training and achieved several notable results in Europe including 2nd and 5th at the Troféu Internacional de Pista in Portugal and 4th and 5th at the Troféu Internacional de Pista in Barcelona. Rowley took another step forward in February when he recorded a time of 9.969 in the flying 200 at the Victorian State Championships along with a slew of top 10 finishes at UCI Class 2 level competition.
Conor Rowley commented on his selection:
“I am so proud and excited to be given the opportunity to represent Ireland for the first time at the Nations Cup in Glasgow.
“With my mother being Irish and having travelled to Ireland many times while growing up, I’ve always felt connected to Ireland and aspired to one day represent Ireland on the big stage. To see how elated my Mum was when she heard I was going to represent Ireland was incredible and I can’t wait for her to be able to see me race in the Irish kit.”
“So many years of hard work and dedication have gone into getting to this point and to finally be given an opportunity at this level is incredibly exciting.”
Newly appointed High-Performance Director, Iain Dyer said:
“The whole team is looking forward to Glasgow Nations Cup. After an unusual Covid affected season last year, it feels that we’re all finally embarking on the new look UCI track season now.”
“Glasgow always puts on a great event, so it’s a good one to start with as we aim to build through the year towards European Championships in Munich in August, and World Championships in Paris in October.”
The riders will use the Class 1 Belgium Open Track Meeting in Gent as preparation for Glasgow and will be joined by Orla Walsh who specialises in the Keirin and Sprint events. Walsh set several new Irish Records outdoors at the 2021 Track National Championships in Sundrive and has spent time preparing for the 2022 season at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland.