Cycling: Stephen Roche backs Martyn to repeat World Track success
IRISH cycling hero Stephen Roche believes Newtownards rider Martyn Irvine has what it takes to triumph at the World Track Championships again.
Having won the World title last year in Belarus in the Scratch event, and claiming a silver medal in the Individual Pursuit, Ulsterman Irvine would love more of the same this week in Cali, Colombia in the 2014 Championships, which start tonight and end on Sunday.
It would be a big ask to repeat the heroic deeds of 12 months ago, but the 1987 Road World Champion insists the experience of 2013 will benefit Irvine, who will compete in the Scratch and Points Races and the Individual Pursuit.
"Having won a World Championship once, there's no reason why Martyn can't do it again," said Roche.
"What Martyn has done is fantastic. In the cycling world he is well regarded for his achievements, but I'm not sure in the wider world they know what he has done. It's a pity he isn't known as well as he should be because he is a world champion."
Roche contends that Irvine and his colleagues on the Irish team could achieve even more with better facilities. The Dubliner, who acknowledged ongoing discussions about building a Velodrome in Ireland, added that he was not surprised Martyn re-located to live and train in Denver earlier this year.
"Our top cyclists are having to move because they haven't got what they need here," said Roche.
"I know there has been more resources put into cycling in the last few years, but I'd like to see even more money put into our sport, more confidence and an improved infrastructure.
"We are way behind other countries but even with that we still have a good success rate. Can you imagine what Martyn and others would be capable of with better facilities?"