Garda Cycling Club member Caroline Ryan has reached another pinnacle in her burgeoning career after it was announced that she had become the world number one individual pursuit rider in the International Cycling Union (UCI) rankings.
It has been a summer of success for Ryan thus far, claiming her second national time trial championship in three years in Carlingford in June before recording victory in the Ireland International Track Grand Prix event at at Sundrive Road in July.
It was at that venue that Ryan also claimed the National Omnium Championship title recently.
Speaking to Gazette Sport last week, Ryan was thrilled to be the world’s finest women’s individual pursuit rider.
“It’s brilliant really, and confirmation that we are heading in the right direction. It has taken three or four years of hard work to get here, and there is a lot to do yet.”
Ryan’s successes have come consistently since her conversion to cycling in 2009, and she puts her evolution in the sport down to a number of factors.
“It’s been building up gradually, it’s no secret, but just building up every year. I came up from rowing in 2009, but it was a process of learning the skills and getting things right on the bike. I have a good coach and a good team around me, and that support is very important.”
The next major event on the agenda for Ryan is the European championships in October, before the world cup begins in earnest in Manchester, England in November. The circuit continues in Mexico in January before the 2014 UCI Track World Championships takes place for the first time from February 26 to March 2 in the Cali Velodrome in Colombia, and Ryan says she has grown used to the international aspect of her sport.
“The travel is part of the whole package, I was used to it being involved in rowing. With track cycling not having a velodrome in Ireland, I had to travel abroad to prepare before major competitions. There is that as well as the fact that competitions take place all over the world.”
Ryan is looking forward to returning to the track, which she clearly feels is her natural home.
“I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the track season. Up until now, it has been fun [being on the road and in the Omnium events], but I am looking forward to being able to zone in on the track now and focus on that.
“I feel really good in terms of my fitness, I have a solid base, and although we are training, it doesn’t feel like that to me.”