Team Ireland has officially selected the road cycling team that will compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

The three riders, Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche and Eddie Dunbar will compete in the Road Race, with Roche also competing in the Time Trial. Roche’s father Stephen competed for Ireland in the 1980 Games in Moscow.

The Olympic Road Race takes place at the Fuji International Speedway on Saturday 24 July, and the Time Trial takes place the following Wednesday, 28 July, starting at the same venue.

There was some disappointment that Sam Bennet, who had such a year to remember in 2020 was not among those named though the course is not really built to suit the sprinter, and he is currently sitting out the Tour de France with a knee injury. Sport can be unforgiving and no respecter of past glories at times.

Roche is entering his fourth Games, he made his Olympic debut in Beijing 2008. His cousin Dan Martin will be racing in his third Games while Dunbar will be tackling his first. The 244km course is a mountainous one that takes in the lower slopes of Mount Fuji, climbing a total of 4,865m, which could suit climber Martin.

Qualification for the Olympic Games in Road Cycling is based on National Rankings with UCI, and on the back of phenomenal results from Irish riders in the professional circuit, in particular Sam Bennett, Ireland secured three spots in the Games in Tokyo.

“It’s a real honour for me to be competing in Tokyo, it’s something that I have dreamed about,” said Dunbar. “In Banteer, where I’m from, there’s a strong Olympic heritage. Ireland’s first gold medallist, Pat O’Callaghan, was from near where I live. This makes competing all the more special.”


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