Martyn Irvine on track with successful recovery
Martyn Irvine will not forget 2013 in a hurry. The Newtownards cyclist competes this weekend in the first of the Track World Cup classics of the season in Manchester as the current world champion in the scratch race and silver medalist in the individual pursuit.
That unforgettable 60 minutes in Belarus in February was put into perspective a month later when a crash while racing for his professional team in Taiwan saw him break his hip, leading to months of inactivity as he went through the process of recovery.
Last month, incredibly, he was back on the podium, claiming bronze in the men's omnium at the European Championships.
"Once I got back on the bike I just wanted to get back competing again and when I got to the Europeans I thought I might sneak something in the points race but I was sick and that didn't go well," explained Irvine.
"I went into the omnium, really just for training to be honest but I was relaxed and the rehab I'd done was really to build up my strength and that held me together and got me through,.
"When I became world champion it was only a month later when I had the crash so I didn't really have to chance to show it off.
"On the track you're just another bike rider and rubbing shoulders with a lot of other world champions. People talk about what a cool race it was back in February but for me it's almost like a distant memory, a lot of stuff has happened since."
Irvine hasn't qualified to race an omnium at the World Cup so he takes part in the two disciplines he won medals at in Minsk.
His longer-term goals will see him defend his world title in Colombia next year and he'll compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July as a potential medalist for Northern Ireland.
Beyond that, he'll launch his second Olympics campaign for Rio in 2016 in the omnium with the scratch and pursuit not on the programme.
"To be honest I haven't been looking too far down the road this year because there's been a heck of a lot going on but I just want to keep performing at the top international level. I think every major competition I've competed at recently I've won a medal at, so that's a trend I'd like to continue. When it comes to Olympic omnium time, I'll have to start sacrificing some races," he said.