Sunday 17 December 2017

Olympic plans knocked off track by O'Loughlin exit

There must have been gnashing of teeth when Beijing Games 2008 Olympian David O'Loughlin made it known to the governing body of cycling in Ireland that he was hanging up his wheels from international track cycling.

I would have given anything to have been a fly on the wall when it was announced. Of course, a brave face had to be put on, but deep down the tyres had come off the rims! Cycling Ireland have been shocked, but what about the Sports Council who have invested in track cycling with a view to participation on our doorstep in London 2012?

Not only has the track team suffered in the loss of O'Loughlin's retirement, they also had to cope with the death of Paul Healion in a tragic car crash 14 months ago.

O'Loughlin blazed a trail for track cycling when he lit up Manchester's Velodrome in April 2007 with a scintillating display in the individual pursuit that guaranteed participation in the Beijing Olympic games 2008.

After the Beijing Olympics, David was wheeled out by all and sundry as a template in making London 2012.

Still, we'll have Nicholas Roche, Daniel Martin and, hopefully, Philip Deignan as our standard bearers in the road race.

O'Loughlin's plan now is to concentrate on his family and also to pursue other business interests.

Performance director of Cycling Ireland, Phil Leigh, paid tribute to O'Loughlin's contribution to the track programme. He said: "David has been the cornerstone of the track programme in Ireland for five years.

"He will be missed."

O'Loughlin, currently a member of the An Post/Sean Kelly team, will continue to compete on the road in 2011, but with a new outfit.

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