DAVID O’Loughlin is on target for a top-10 placing in next month’s World Pursuit Championship following another impressive display in the UCI World Cup at Manchester over the weekend.
Ireland entered a five-strong team for this final round of the Word Cup series, but O’Loughlin was the only Irish rider to figure in the results, thanks to his eighth place in the individual pursuit and 12th in the 30-kilometre points race.
He dropped three places from his fifth spot in last month’s World Cup pursuit in Los Angeles. However, he was up against much stiffer opposition in Manchester, where the field included Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins plus five of the top-10 from last year’s world championship.
The pursuit involves two riders starting on opposite sides of the track. They race for 16 laps - a distance of four kilometres. The aim is to catch your rider and eliminate him. If both riders are still on the track at the finish, the result is decided on times.
O’Loughlin sampled the event for the first time last autumn and quickly established himself among the world’s elite.
Twenty riders from 16 nations qualified for Friday afternoon’s first round, knowing that only the fastest four would go through to the evening’s medal rides.
O’Loughlin roared to eighth fastest time of 4-30,120, an average of 53.309 kilometres per hour. He was disappointed to miss breaking his Irish national record by less than one second, but had the satisfaction of improving by 1.75 seconds on his previous outing in Los Angeles.
O’Loughlin who had already qualified for the pursuit at next month’s world championships was also chasing qualifying points for a place in the 30-kilometres points race. On Saturday, the Cong man showed his growing expertise in this tactical event by finishing second in his heat and going on to take 12th spot in the final. This was enough to ensure he will ride both the pursuit and points race in the World Championships at Palma Majorca (March 29-April 1) where he will be Ireland’s sole representative.