Despite finishing 39th, Marcus Christie targets Commonwealth medal after "great experience" at first World Championships

Marcus Christie has set himself the target of a Commonwealth Games medal after admitting he was disappointed with his 39th placed finish at the World Time Trial Championships in Flanders, Belguim on Sunday.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 12:39 pm
Despite a disappointing 39th placed finish at the World Time Trial Championships in Belgium, Marcus Christie has set his sights on chasing down a Commonwealth medal in Birmingham next summer.

The Bready cyclist finished in a time of 53:07.20, averaging 48.90kph for the 43.3km course, at the event which was won by reigning champion, Filippo Ganna of Italy in a time of 47:47.83. Wout van Aert of Belgium claimed the silver medal, finishing 5.37 seconds behind Ganna’s time, while his teammate, Remco Evenpoel, rounded off the podium in 48:31.17.

Christie’s cause wasn’t helped by the loss of the earpiece connecting him to the Team Ireland car but even with that frustration, he described his first World Championships as a wonderful experience and one he’s determined to build on.

“It was great experience, an amazing atmosphere. The crowds were huge,” explained 30-yard old Christie, “I was obviously a bit nervous at the start though I settled into it quite well.

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“The course was quite technical in sections and my earpiece fell out halfway into the time trial. Once that happened I just wasn’t super confident in the corners and stuff. It all added up and while I gave everything I had on the day, I was about 5 per cent off where I wanted to be.

“I was pretty much riding blind for the second half of the course. We did one lap of on Saturday morning but I needed more time to study it to be honest. I was really just hoping the radio would work for me so when it came out, I was almost winging it at that point.

“The legs were never going to get me in a position to win it so while losing my earpiece was disappointing, it was really only the difference of a few spots in the Top 30.”

Christie said it had been a privilege to take part in what was the 100th staging of the World Championships and described Flanders as the perfected backdrop for the competition.

“It was a great experience and I can definitely take a lot from it,” he added, “There are plenty of positives for me. The only way you learn about major events like that is to take actually take part.

“It will be a big help, especially with the Commonwealth Games being so close. I’m a really grateful to even have had the opportunity to take part.

“Being held in Flanders in Belgium made it extra special as well. The crowds were unbelievable for a time trial, I don’t think you will see that again at World Championships for a long time. It was the 100th anniversary too so it was a privilege to compete.

“There are definitely a lot of things I can improve on but it’s a starting point and I would like to build on this before it is too late.”

The Irish National Championships on September 30th will be next up for Christie but looking further ahead to Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Birmingham from July 28th to August 8th 2022, the local rider is aiming high

“I’m going to give the Nationals a crack at the end of September and then hopefully the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, that will hopefully be the next international event.

“I’ve learnt a lot from the World Championships. I know where the weaknesses are and what I need to improve, on the equipment side of things and the physical side of things.

“If I am going to the Commonwealths, I really do want to try and chase down a medal. That’s a bold statement I know but I think I can take a lot from Sunday’s experience.

“People can talk to you and prepare you but there is no work you can do to replicate the experience of taking part in something like the World Championships other than to part and I think I will be better for having experienced everything that goes with it. I’m just very grateful to have had the chance to take part.”