Cycling: Mullen catches the eye with 'world-class' effort
Ireland's Ryan Mullen took a fine seventh place in the U-23 individual time trial at the World Championships in Florence.
A bronze medallist in last year's European junior time trial championships, Mullen set an average speed of over 50kph to finish a minute and 47 seconds behind Australia's gold medal winner Damien Howson in the 42.7km race against the clock.
Howson recorded a time of 49 minutes and 49 seconds, 57 seconds better than silver medallist Yoann Paillot of France, with former An Post Ras stage winner Lasse Norman Hanson of Denmark third, a minute and 10 seconds back.
Ireland's Marcus Christie finished a solid 28th on his World Championship debut.
"It was a world-class ride from Ryan," said Cycling Ireland's head coach Bryan Nugent. "He was in the top six riders at each time check and was solid in every section. He left nothing out there, and was very technical on the tight corners."
Mark Downey is next up for the Irish squad as he competes in the junior men's time trial in Florence today before linking up with Eddie Dunbar and Dylan Foley for the junior road race on Saturday morning.
Olivia Dillon and national champion Melanie Spath will compete in the women's road event.
While Ireland didn't qualify a team for Saturday's U-23 road race, cousins Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin will be joined by recent Tour of Britain stage winner Sam Bennett and national road race champion Matt Brammeier for the 272km elite men's road race on Sunday, with Roche also due to ride the elite men's individual time trial tomorrow.