The Northern Ireland Cycling squad has been announced for the 2022 Commonwealth Games which gets underway in Birmingham later this month.
A strong team comprising five males and three females will represent Team NI across Road, Track, Time Trial and Mountain Bike disciplines; with the Games getting underway with the Track programme which will be hosted in London.
The line-up is a mix of experience and up and up and coming talent, and for 5 of the team it will be their first Games; but for multi-National Champion Lydia Boylan it will be her third, having first represented Northern Ireland in Glasgow in 2014.
Joanna Patterson, current British Best Allrounder Time Trialist, who narrowly missed retaining her national Time Trial title by one second last week, has previously represented Team NI at Commonwealth level in athletics before switching to Cycling and will focus on the Time Trial.
Matt Teggart continues a strong Banbridge CC representation at the Games and will follow in his father Neil’s footsteps when he competes at his first Commonwealth Games.
For Cameron Orr it will be his second outing for Northern Ireland, having finished 7th in the Gold Coast Mountain Bike event as a teenager, since when he has gone on to U23 and Elite Mountain Bike World Cup outings for GB. He will be backed up by Chris McGlinchey who has been competing in UCI ranked Mountain Bike events since late 2021.
JB Murphy & Alice Sharpe are part of the Irish National track set up and will both be riding the track as part of a busy season which will see them depart the Games for the European Championships in Germany.
The youngster of the squad, Darren Rafferty is a developmental athlete who has a real chance to shine in Birmingham, following an outstanding 11th place in the Junior World Time Trial Championships last year and a stunning win in the U23 Strade Bianchi international event last month.
All riders will compete in their specialist event, with the full men`s squad also competing in the Road Race which comes on the last day of competition and in which we had our best result ever, 4th with Mark Downey, in Gold Coast four years ago.
The team will be managed by Gary McKeegan and Anthony Mitchell, for whom it will be their third and second time respectively managing the senior Commonwealth Games squad.
Speaking following the confirmation of the members of the team, Cycling Ulster Chairperson, Tommy McCague said:
“It’s great to see so many talented riders selected across road, track and MTB for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
“I want to wish the team the best of luck including the management duo of Gary McKeegan and Anthony Mitchell.
“I also want to thank Julie Rea who has been working with the Commonwealth Games Council on behalf of Cycling Ulster in the lead up to Birmingham.”