Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeInterviewsRyan Mullen - Silver Medallist in the World U23 Time Trial Championship

Ryan Mullen – Silver Medallist in the World U23 Time Trial Championship

-

Ryan Mullen
Ryan Mullen. Photo©Sean Rowe

The progress of Ryan Mullen (Ireland & AN Post) through the sport has been little short of meteoric.

He first raced in 2008, was on the Irish junior squad within a year and was on the podium at the European Championships by 2012 with second place in the junior time trial then ninth in the junior Worlds TT before ending his season with a win in the junior Chrono des Nations in France.

Season 2013 saw him win the Irish U23 TT title in the colours of Sigma Sport take two bronze medals in the European U23 Track Championships in the scratch and pursuit before taking seventh in the Worlds U23 TT and heading back to the Chrono des Nations to take the U23 race.

Last season he was with AN Post (where he’ll stay for 2015) and saw fourth place in the Worlds individual pursuit, a win in the Irish Elite Road Championships and the U23 TT title – but in a time 40 seconds faster than Michael Hutchison who won the elite title – and then a superb silver medal in the Worlds U23 TT in Ponferrada, a heartbreaking 0.48 seconds behind Aussie winner, Campbell Flakemore – who’s now with BMC.

We caught up with the Irish (via Birkenhead and Wales) flyer early in the New Year as he returned from stocking up at the supermarket in Mallorca where he’s training with the Irish track squad for the track Worlds in Paris.

Were you training in Mallorca through Xmas and New Year, Ryan?

“Just New Year.

“Martyn Irvine and the track team are all here, too.

“We train on the road and at the velodrome where the 2007 track Worlds were held.”

0.48 seconds …

“At first I was thinking about all the places where I could have lost half a second and was really frustrated; but then you think that Flakemore rode in the same horrible wet conditions as I did – so the best man on the day won.”

Ryan Mullen
Ryan with Champion Campbell Blakemore and Stefan Kueng on the U23 podium. Photo©AFP

You were seventh in 2013 in the U23 …

“That seventh place gave me a lot of hope, I knew that in Spain I was a year more experienced and stronger – but when I went in to the 2013 race there was no pressure, I was just thinking that a top ten place would be good.”

The U23 Worlds TT in the USA must be a big goal?

“I’d love to get another chance to win the title; I haven’t done much homework – but I will get round to that in the next few weeks.

“I have heard that it’s pretty flat but technical which sounds right up my street.”

Ryan Mullen
Ryan in 2012 on his way to the British Junior ’10’ Title. Photo©Andy Jones / Cycling Weekly

And you lost the CTT ‘10’ champs by two seconds to Matt Bottrill …

“I’m starting to make a habit of losing time trials by narrow margins !

“Winning the ‘10’ wasn’t really a goal as long as I did a 17 minute ride; it was all part of my Worlds build up.

“I’d had a long ferry journey back from Belgium before the race; Hull to Zeebrugge and had raced 30 hours in the week previous, five 200 K events, all part of the Worlds preparation.”

Your TT position is really slippery.

“I’ve spent time in the wind tunnel but that was with the Irish team testing equipment – I’m lucky that because I’m pretty flexible I can jump on a bike and get a good, aero position.

“That position didn’t come about as a result of wind tunnel testing – it’s just the position I’ve always ridden time trials in.”

Ryan Mullen
You don’t get much more aero than that. Ryan at the Irish TT Champs. Photo©Stephen McMahon

Tell us about beating the World Tour guys to win the Irish Elite Road Race champs.

“It was a bit of a shock, really.

“I hadn’t ridden my road bike at all for three-and-a-half weeks, until the day before.

“All my training was geared towards the U23 time trial champs but I actually should have entered the Elite race because I was 40 seconds faster than Michael Hutchison who won it.

“I felt good for the road race and my motivation was good, I was in the early break and the bunch went to sleep a little.

“It was only in the last 50 K that the peloton stirred but I was feeling good and had two team mates in the break so was able to sit on when they attacked – then I hit them hard with a lap-and-a-half to go and won by a minute and more.”

Is the national champion’s jersey a big deal in Belgium?

“I don’t know really, I never think about it – I’m just a 19 year-old rider trying to make it.

“But sometimes when they’re introducing the team they say; ‘the Irish Champion !’ and I think; ‘oh ! yeah ! that’s me !'”

How did you get into cycling in the first place?

“My dad was a good junior in the 80’s in Ireland but then he had university and work – but he came back to the sport in 2005/6 and that’s when I got involved.

“I rode my first race in 2008 and by 2009 was on the Irish junior squad.”

How did the ride with Sigma come about?

“Simon Howell had seen that I’d been second in the European junior TT champs and made the top ten at the Worlds junior TT; he was taking Joe Perrett down to the 2012 Chrono des Nations.

“He asked if I’d like to go with them, I did, won the junior race and signed up for the team.”

And the AN Post ride?

“With the Irish connection I’d spoken to AN Post DS Kurt Bogaerts in 2012 but he reckoned that their programme would be too much for me at that age.

“When I won the Chrono in 2013 Kurt signed me for 2014.

“I enjoy it in Belgium; it fits in perfectly with my Irish Team commitments – I’m not there all the time, more like three or four week blocks as part of my preparation with the national team.”

Ryan Mullen
Ryan is equally at home and as fast on the track Photo©Guy Swarbrick

Do you see much of Sean Kelly?

“I see him a few times during the year but he comes to all of the training camps and always has good advice – he’s a great guide to have.”

What’s your favourite discipline, road or track?

“I like both but only do the individual and team pursuit on the track, no bunch racing.

“The track is good because it makes the winter fly past – and you get to travel, see the world when you race in the Europeans and World Cups.

“The Worlds individual pursuit in Paris is a big goal, I’m a year stronger and more experienced if there are no hiccups; but I’ve heard that the standard of the field may be higher than it was in 2014 – Bobridge will be there, for example.”

What’s 2015 about?

“There’s the track Worlds then I’ll take a break before riding the Nations Cup races then the Ras and the Nationals with breaks in between then a series of one day races in Belgium as build up to the Worlds in Richmond.”

Watch for him in Paris – and Richmond …

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.

Related Articles

Silvan Dillier – Stepping up to the World Tour with BMC

We last spoke to up and coming 23 year-old Swiss star, Silvan Dillier back in the spring after his win in the Tour of Normandie; since then he’s been a busy man. There was stage win in the hotly contested Triptyque Ardennaise in Belgium, a win in Cham-Hagendorn in Switzerland and stage in the Fleche Ardennaise in Belgium. Then came a ride as a stagiaire with the BMC World Tour team – and an excellent win in Stage Two of the Tour of Alberta.

Rab Wardell – A Trip Into The Unknown

Whilst Endura have been getting all the attention recently, other Scottish riders have been looking to raise their game too. Rab Wardell is taking his talent south - to Southport's Kinesis team. We caught up with him to talk about the move - eventually. (Rab is a fan of having his mobile on 'silent' after five pm - but of course, this means he doesn't hear it when it rings!)

Paul Double – 2nd in the Giro di Romagna

With so many tales of broken promises, teams folding and disillusioned young men heading home to Blighty from Europe, it’s good to tell a story where it all comes together and there’s a podium involved. Paul Double has been on our radar for a while, first as a ‘Zappi Man,’ a CTT Hill Climb medallist, riding for one of Italy’s top u23 teams – the mighty Colpack Ballan – then last year back as a ‘Zappi Man.’

Star of the Future: Daniel Patten – Gaining Experience

In the 70's, very few British riders graced the Euro peloton; this year there are four just with Cervélo alone. VeloVeritas caught up with the latest young Briton to cross the channel, Southend's Daniel Patten, who has signed with Martin McCrossan and Magnus Backsted's Team Cyclesport.se -MagnusMaximusCoffee.com for season 2009.

John Archibald – New RTTC 10 Mile TT Champion

In the car on the way down to Irvine on Sunday morning it never occurred to VeloVeritas editor Martin and I that we’d soon be witnessing anything other than Marcin Bialoblocki (NOPINZ) making it a clean sweep of RTTC titles from 10 to 100 miles. Not for the first time, we got it wrong. Commonwealth Games pursuit silver medallist, John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling) relegated the big Polish power house to second place by three seconds with a sparking 18:18 – Big Marcin looked a tad stunned when the news broke that we had a Scottish winner of a British title on Scottish roads.

Mark Stewart – Team Pursuiting to a World Cup Bronze!

Picking up the baton of Scottish international success from Katie Archibald in the pursuits and Callum Skinner in the kilometre, British Points Race Champion, Mark Stewart came away from the recent UCI World Cup in Cali with a bronze medal in the team pursuit. Riding with Germain Burton, Chris Latham and Matt Gibson the GB Academy team rode a 4:03 in the second round to set a new record for an Academy squad. We had a word with him when he got back to the UK...

At Random

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 6: Tarazona – Jaca 175.4 km

You have to be impressed by Sky’s riding here at the La Vuelta a España 2012. There was no show boating or ‘riding into the climb’ – they only went to the front when it really counted.

The VV View: Pantani Revisionism, Qatar Worlds, CIRC and Raleigh

I can remember perfectly where I was when Marco Pantani died; sitting in my living room in Dysart. The flash came over Eurosport News and I rang Viktor to tell him; ‘hardly surprising’ was the reply. I knew what he meant, the little Italian’s life had been on a self destructive spiral for a some time - rehab or disaster were the only two possible destinations. It was the Spartan philosophers who first coined the expression, ‘never speak ill of the dead.’ And whilst it’s always dreadfully sad to see a young life wasted, I’m puzzled by the current revisionist accounts of his life which are doing the rounds on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 4: Stage 17, Chieti – Blockhaus

I woke with a start, in the middle of the night, damn! I thought, things I should have mentioned, in the diary - Blockhaus; today's mega climb, we caught sight of it yesterday morning as we hurtled down the Autostrada.

La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 13; Belorado – Obregón, 182 km. Daniel Navarro for Spain and Cofidis

Stage 13 took things back up a level but on a parcours which didn’t make for ‘The Bigs’ to do anything but mark each other. Unlike the Tour de France where there have been years where the honour of France has been saved by a single stage win by the likes of Sandy Casar, the Vuelta has always inspired it’s children with Spaniards well to the fore. When it comes to stage wins the ‘Home Boys’ always reach deep into their top hats to find a rabbit with Daniel Navarro at last giving Cofidis something to smile about.

Derek Harrison

British Tour de France winners are now commonplace but back in my youth, we could only dream of such things; however we had warriors out there, battling Johnny Foreigner in his back yard – Barry Hoban, Mike Wright and a chap called Derek Harrison. Harrison died in Pernes-les-Fontaines, Provence, France on May 12th last year at 74 years-of-age.

The VV View: Erik Zabel Second Confession Met with UCI Silence

Erik Zabel has confessed... On the one hand we don’t think that disinterring the dead is the way forward; the French Senate mass exhumation was a pointless exercise as far as we’re concerned. But once you have a Zabelombie walking the streets you have deal with it.