Martyn Irvine put up a heroic defence of his World title at the Cycling Track World Championships in Colombia at the weekend.
Once agian the Newtownards man’s fighting spirit earned plaudits from the world’s sporting media as he mounted a lone chase to catch the three leaders who had gained a lap on the main bunch in the scratch race.
He dug deep and lap by lap reeled in the main group with just five of the 60 laps remaining, however the massive effort left him with little reserves to contest the final sprint. He did relegate the Hong Kong rider Cheung however as he surged to take silver.
The Russian winner Ivan Kovalev had had the luxury of sheltering with the bunch as Irvine chased alone and had plenty in reserve to fend off Irish rider homing in on his lead.
The following night, Irvine finished sixth in the Points event in one of the most competitive races seen in recent years. The winner was the home favourite Edwin Alcibiaes Avila Vanegas.
Irvine must now wear one of the favourites’ tags when he represents Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in July.
Between then and now he joins his United Haealthcare team to contest a number of road races.
Closer to home, the Web Theatre in Newtownards was packed last week when Ards Cycling Club members and friends gathered to pay tribute to their track star where a special jersey marking Irvine’s 2013 World title was presented to his parents.