Just to be clear!
I felt the need to say something because I feel like the “hard done by” theme is being put out there when it comes to myself.
I am really happy! All the stuff you have been reading is true, not a word of a lie but people are jumping on the - lack of, shoulda, woulda coulda stuff. I loved racing bikes. When I got shit at racing bikes, I stopped! I still love the thought of racing but getting paid for it was becoming hard to do.
I do feel that things need to change to help young athletes become champions. It’s not cycling that is the problem, it’s not the sports council’s problem, it’s not the sponsors fault, it’s ours! All these organizations meet demand to a degree, there are exceptions though! The sports that get the help in Ireland are the highest supported sports when it comes to bums on seats.
There was a Class 1 UCI race held in Ireland last year. It was a track race, I was in it and it was held at Sundrive Velodrome. It was ran perfectly, everything was catered for and the participants were really world class. There were at least 5 world champions in my race!!!! How many spectators were there??? 40? 50? I doubt it - It’s a sad fact. It’s nobody’s fault, the event was held to the highest standard but nobody outside the small track bubble gave a shit!
I could waffle on all day but the point is the ethos needs to change. An indoor Velodrome in Ireland will guarantee a place to nurture track cyclists in all weather. It will keep kids safe and will gradually change what people think of the sport, but it’s going to take a long time!
Like I started with, just to be clear - I appreciate every grant, every sponsor and every sports institute that helped me. From where I started I got a lot out of cycling and I am forever grateful. The Irish Institute of Sport in Abbotstown has helped me more than ever since I retired, I can’t say the same for some other Sports institutes but they are victims of there own system. Cycling Ireland have given me the platform to perform and I did. Even though they probably need some new blood in the system at some point.
I’m not preaching, I’m not trying to rattle cages, I’m just clarifying and giving my penny’s worth!