Gallagher and Healy best of the Irish on gruelling day for Junior racers
Maeve Gallagher and Ben Healy were the top Irish finishers on day five of the World Road Championships in Innsbruck.
Gallagher finished 26th and Healy 25th in the Women's and Men's Junior Road Races after a day on some of the most arduous terrain ever presented at a World Championships.
Gallagher and Lara Gillespie raced in the 72.7km Women's Junior race. Two difficult climbs served to splinter the peloton into various smaller groups until local rider Laura Stigger sprinted in ahead of three others to take the rainbow jersey. Gallagher gave an excellent account of herself to lead in a group of 17 sprinting for 26th, 4mins 56secs behind Stigger and 51 seconds ahead of fellow-first year junior Gillespie in 54th position.
"I was happy with that considering I'm a first year junior," said Gallagher. "And, yeah, the course was tough. There was no hiding out there. And there are no hills like that in Ireland!"
The Men's Junior Road Race followed with Healy, Aaron Doherty, Archie Ryan and Breandan Gallagher all doing battle for Team Ireland.
The 132.5km race was marred by repeated crashes including a spill just after the halfway point which cost Doherty dear. The Westport-rider hit the ground and was soon back on his feet but he would eventually be listed as a non-finisher. Healy hung on until close to the top when he was picked up by a group led by race winner Remco Evenepoel of Belgium.
"It was not the perfect course for me," Healy said. "I like the more rouleur stuff not the pure climber (courses) so it was pretty brutal but I'm actually pretty happy."
It's the turn of the men's U-23 riders to take centre stage today in their road race. Eddie Dunbar, Michael O'Loughlin, Matt Teggart and Daire Feeley wear green in the race.
Meanwhile, a week of controversy did little to change the inevitable yesterday as Italian Gianni Bugno was re-elected as president of the professional cyclists' union (CPA), defeating the Scot David Millar in a landslide victory of 379 votes to 96.
But the result hardly tells the story of an uncomfortable build-up which saw a swathe of high-profile riders including Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas come together to call for the voting system to be reformed.