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Martyn Irvine – Two Silver Medals at the Glasgow UCI Track World Cup

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One of the stars of the Glasgow World Cup endurance events was Martyn Irvine.

Although better known as an omnium specialist, the 27 year old took silver medals in the scratch and pursuit.

Altogether a good week for the Irishman – having also just signed a pro contract with big winning US team United Healthcare.

Irvine took time to talk to VeloVeritas as he caught his breath after Glasgow…

Martyn Irvine
Martyn has changed his position recently, putting the arm pads closer together and raising them a little, to get an overall lower position. Photo©Martin Williamson

How did you get into cycling, Martyn?

“I got into cycling in the most random way. I had no interest in sport at all when I grew up and was working as an apprentice mechanic.

“The guys at the garage cycled – slowly but surely I was bitten by the bug!”

You’re from Newtonards – how far from the famous ’25’ course?

“I grew up about a kilometre from the Portaferry road, the famous Boardman/Obree legend still lives on!”

Martyn Irvine
Martyn with one of his two UCI World Cup medals. Photo©Martin Williamson

On the subject of tests – nice ride in the Irish Champs, just 35 sec. off Hutchinson.

“I was totally surprised; I knew how hard I was training but never really tested myself all year.

“I borrowed a bike that week, had ridden it once and just went for some good training with a small thought that I might do well.”

Track racing – how did you get into that, in Ireland?

“I was racing in Belgium and the Irish team were trying out riders for their Team Pursuit.

“I tried out and wasn’t too shabby, the rest is history!”

The Olympic Omnium – unlucky 13th – how do you rate your performance?

“I will always look back at the Olympics with a sick feeling in my stomach.

“One of the worst days of racing I’ve done.

“I think I did a bit to much preparation for the Games and was digging a hole the last few weeks.

“I honestly feel that the kicking I received at the games made me a stronger rider when I recovered.”

Martyn Irvine
A great ride in the Scratch Race, saw Martyn on the podium. Photo©Martin Williamson

The Glasgow World Cup – two silvers, you must be chuffed?

“Yes, where’d that come from?

“Honestly, I had a gut feeling I could do well in the Scratch Race. During training I always had it in the back of my mind.

“With seven laps to go though, I thought I screwed it up!

“The Pursuit was a bonus though. Andy [Sparks, Director at Performance United. Editor] my coach, had me doing a lot of Pursuit work but I have never really seen myself as a pure pursuiter, that’s changed though.

“The World Championships are my target, getting sub 4:20.”

But not your usual discipline, why not?

“My track career has been one of necessity, I’ve been doing what I’ve had to do to race on the track.

“First Team Pursuit then the Omnium; they’re disciplines I had to do to because of the team goals or to get to the Games.

“I always enjoyed the Points Race, the Scratch Race and the Pursuit.

“When the chance came up to do them I jumped at it – I wouldn’t have missed the Omnium last weekend!”

Which disciplines will you choose for the 2014 Commonwealth Games?

“The Pursuit for sure, then either the Scratch Race or Points Race.

“I love a fast hard race and think the Points Race could be good.”

Martyn Irvine
Team ‘Performance United’ – Martyn with coach Andy Sparks and another of Andy’s riders, Mallorquin David Muntaner. Photo©Martin Williamson

How did you connect with United Healthcare?

“The American Olympic track team trained in Palma, Mallorca where I was training and Andy introduced me to Mike Tamayo and Hendrik Redant.

“After a quick chat, post training, I left the velodrome and thought no more about it.

“A few months later Mike come back to me with the news, I was over the moon.”

Where will you be staying in the US?

“At this very minute I’m not sure, it’s all up in the air, gonna see where it lands and go with it!”

Martyn Irvine
Martyn with Philip Deignan at the recent team training camp. Photo©Wes Mallette.

Do you know your programme, yet – will there be much European racing ?

“I told them I am 100% easy.

“I said; ‘see what you think at the first training camp and I’ll go with your plan’.”

Do UHC support your track ambitions ?

“That was the best thing.

“Mike knows the track and one of the first things he did was say he was happy for me to stay with it up until the Worlds.

“After February I’m hitting the road hard.”

Martyn Irvine
Martyn will target the Pursuit at the Commonwealth Games on this Glasgow Track in 2014. Photo©Martin Williamson

With your coach it must be stressful to train for the Omnium?

“If you think I’m bad at the Omnium now you should have seen me before Andy!

Andy taught me so much stuff on the sprinting side of things that it’s almost natural now to do the things he helped me with.

“And also the Kilo, flying lap and sprint stuff.”

What’s your favourite Omnium discipline – and least favourite?

“I love any of the endurance stuff, probably Scratch Race the most.

“With a passion I hate the Devil – I’m just not made for it!”

Martyn Irvine
Focusing on the job ahead. Photo©Martin Williamson

With all that versatility, do you ever fancy the Six Days?

“I would love to do some of the Six Days!

“I did a summer Six Day in Italy this year and thought it was fun. I won the 100k madison at the 6 Giorni Delle Rose… I just don’t know the right people I think.”

When are you going to take a break from all this bike racing?

“I love it too much!

“My choice would be to stick at it as long as I can, I’ll try my best to do that.”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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