Double medal success for Irvine
Published 21/02/2013 | 18:26
Ireland's Martyn Irvine claimed two medals in an hour - the second of them gold in the men's scratch race - at the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk.
The 27-year-old from Newtownards was second in the four-kilometre individual pursuit and had time to receive his medal, change his race numbers and return to the bike before his gold success.
Irvine accelerated clear of the field with 10 laps to go of the 60-lap (15km) race and held off his rivals in the finale to win.
Irvine's win was Ireland's first gold medal in modern World Championships, but Henry Reynolds did win a title in 1896.
"I'm not sure it's hit me yet. I don't know what to say," Irvine said.
"Once I went, it was all or nothing. I didn't look back. It was full gas. I saw a shadow on my hip with two laps to go and I just dug a bit more.
"I was waiting for a crowd of people to pass me, but they never did and I'm looking forward to seeing the video."
Both of Irvine's successes came in non-Olympic events; he was 13th in the multi-discipline omnium at London 2012.
The success of Irvine, who was signed by second-tier road team United Health Care late last year, is all the more remarkable as Ireland's overall annual budget is in the region of 100,000 euros, something which pales into insignificance in comparison to their neighbours across the Irish Sea.
Irvine said: "I've been racing with them (Britain) for two or three years now. It's some set-up. That put fire in my belly to do the best I could with the little I had. You couldn't live on what I've been living on. I'll guarantee I'm one of the least funded guys on the podium. That makes it even sweeter."