Bready cyclist Marcus Christie delighted at Irish World Championship selection for Sunday's Time Trial

Bready's Marcus Christie says he can’t wait to take on the world’s best cyclists this Sunday after his selection on the 16-strong Irish team to compete at the Road World Championships in Flanders, Belgium.

By Michael Wilson
Thursday, 16th September 2021, 6:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th September 2021, 6:52 pm
Bready cyclist Marcus Christie will represent Ireland this weekend at his first senior Road World Championships in Flanders, Belgium. Photo: George Sweeney.

Christie goes in the 43.3 kilometre time trial, which will be broadcast live on Eurosport, alongside team-mate Ryan Mullen with the duo coming up against a top class field including TT specialists like Filippo Ganna, Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogačar and Tom Dumoulin.

It’s a daunting prospect but after a career that has seen more than a few dips in the road, Christie is delighted to finally be able to showcase his talent at the biggest stage of all.

“I’m delighted, especially after the last couple of years,” explained Christie, “It’s been difficult at times but this just shows you that if you stick at something, then something good can come off it. I have put in a good amount of work over the past year and now I’m just really happy that this has come off. Hopefully I can go and produce the goods, that would be the cherry on the cake.

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

“I honestly don’t know quite what to expect and I don’t want to go setting targets other than to perform to the best of my ability. There’s going to be a brilliant field of top, top quality riders competing and while the dream would be to get Top 10, I’m not setting specific targets.

“This field is going to be crazy, it’s going to be the best of the best - Filippo Ganna, Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogačar and Tom Dumoulin, all the top specialists like Rohan Dennis.

“It will be a real test to see where you are at in the echelons of world cycling, that’s for sure. You really have a chance to showcase what you can do and that in itself is a big motivating factor.

Christie was part of the Irish Junior squad who competed in 2013 Worlds in Italy but his inclusion in this year’s senior Irish squad was only rubber stamped by a remarkable performance at a 25 mile TT in Cambridge last Sunday when the local rider smashed both the Irish and course record with a ride of 45 minutes 45 seconds.

“Making the Ireland squad for the Worlds was the goal over the last few months so I’ve been trying to keep banging out the results to keep me in contention,” adds Christie, “I knew if I went to England last week and managed to produce a decent result I would be in with a great chance of being selected. I went to Cambridge and did very well so was about 90 per cent certain I had done enough after that.

'Cycling Ireland wanted to see how I would perform under pressure'

“I think Cycling Ireland wanted to see how I would perform under pressure. They knew I would have to go over and perform, win the event and anything on top of that would be a bonus. It was more about executing it under pressure and thankfully it went well because they wanted to see if I could deliver.

“It was a 25 mile TT, a very similar distance to the time trial at the Worlds which is only about 3 kilometres longer, so I’m delighted to get selected for the squad but now my whole focus is on Sunday. I was at the Under 23 World Championships in 2013 but this is my first time taking part in the elite event.”

Christie departs this morning Friday for Belgium and is hoping to run his eye over the course on Saturday before Sunday’s big event and he believes the experience and time he did in Cambridge last week will stand to him.

“The course is a point to point, 43 kilometres, more or less pan flat. There are a few turns in it so I’ll get a good look at it on Saturday, but from what I’ve seen the course certainly suits me, which is a positive. It’s now about trying to keep my composure. I’m injury free now and things are good. I know Sam Bennett and Ryan Mullen so it will be good to link up with them again but I’m really looking forward to the whole experience.

Cambridge went well but I think I went out slightly too hard and then, in the second half of the race, I really did suffer. That was a good lesson for this week but I was really happy with how, despite going out so quick, I didn’t die off.

“Over the second half of that Cambridge course I probably suffered the most I had suffered in a long time but it’s good to know you can suffer like that and still come through it.”