Cycling: Mullen drifts out of medals after fine start
Ireland got their World Cycling Championships off to a good start in Holland yesterday when Ryan Mullen took ninth place in the junior men's individual time trial.
A silver medallist at the European juniors a month ago, Mullen looked to be heading towards another medal when he hit the first time-check third fastest and then improved to second going through the second.
However, he faded on the Sibbergrube and Cauberg climbs, eventually drifting back to finish ninth, 26 seconds off the gold-medal pace of Oskar Svendson.
The 18-year-old Norwegian finished seven seconds ahead of Matej Mohoric of Slovenia over the 26.6km course, with Germany's Maximilian Schachmann third, 11 seconds behind Svendson.
In the U-23 time trial, Irish duo Sean Downey and Connor Dunne finished 30th and 48th respectively in their 36km race against the clock. The title was won by Anton Vorobyev of Russia ahead of Aussie duo Rohan Dennis and Damien Howson.
Meanwhile, Nicolas Roche will have a former foe as a team-mate next year after it was announced that Italian sprinter Daniele Bennati will join the Saxo Bank Tinkoff team in 2013.
Roche described in his Irish Independent 2009 Tour de France diary how he grabbed Bennati by the throat and pinned him to the side of his team bus in front of the world's media after both of them had been in a breakaway group. The Italian had taken umbrage to Roche's second place on a stage of the Tour that year and dismissed him as "useless" on Italian TV.