Burren Cycling Club’s Paul Kennedy has described his second placed finish at the UCI World Time Trial Championships the best result of his career.
Kennedy stated he was hoping for a top five finish with 46 competitors competing in the division with the Championships held in Italy.
Kennedy secured silver in the 40-44 age category as he admits that after visiting the course five times in the lead-up to the event, he was surprised by alterations made to the layout prior
to the commencement of the competition.
“It was a strange Time Trial. I drove it five times the day before we competed. The organisers closed off the opposite side of the road than what I had expected so we had to drive the other
side of the road. I expected to be going around the long side, but it was the same for everyone I imagine. I just had to get used to it as it went on.”
After needing to win the Irish M40 Masters Time Trial Championships just in order to qualify for this event, he feels this silver medal is the best achievement of his cycling career
to date, surpassing his stage win at the Rás Mumhan in 2017.
“This is probably the best result I’ve had. The Rás Mumhan stage win was big for me but I was up against riders from all over Europe here. It was a street circuit so the turns were way
harder and the weather was hot. A few of us got caught in a headwind which just picked up for an hour but the fella that won it was caught too so I just got on with it and managed to
The Limerick man joined Burren CC a year ago as he saw the team continue to strengthen. Many top teams in Ireland possess riders from all over the country making meeting up and
training together a logistical nightmare.
However, Kennedy, who lives in Adare, commutes to Ennis to meet up with his teammates as he feels this year has seen him grow as a cyclist.
“This year I had good teammates. I’ve raced against them, and I knew they had a good team ethos. Most big clubs have riders all over the country, so it is unusual to have good riders
close to each other. I just drive out to Ennis and it’s a lot easier training with guys who all just want to get better.”
Kennedy has enjoyed arguably his best year in cycling to date. He competed in Rás Tailteann and Rás Mumhan while he also showed a rich vein of form towards the end of the season.
The cabinet maker is currently third in the A1 road rankings across Ireland with only Rás Tailteann winner Daire Feeley and Moynalty CC’s Luke Smith ahead of him.
He feels his coach Barry Monaghan has helped propel him to the next level.
“I’ve had a year and a half with the same coach. A coach is a big thing in cycling. If it clicks then it can bring someone on an awful lot. I now have a great coach and I joined the Burren
this time last year so you have guys like Mark Shannon on your team who has been great all year. I’ve got good people around me which is a big help.”
Kennedy was an avid hurler but he stepped away as he hit his mid 30s. He decided to try cycling in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since.
The Burren CC man feels that more ex GAA players should try cycling as he believes the sports complement each other.
“I was hurling on a Thursday night, and I just knew my time was up. I was 36 at the time so I had younger guys flying past me. I had a new bike, so I started cycling that Sunday and I just
kept going at it. Now I’ve completed the Rás four times; in 2016, ’17, ’18 and this year so it’s been good.”
“A lot of good cyclists are actually ex GAA players. They do the training at club level and they are able to bring that work rate over to cycling. It’s a shame more aren’t giving it a go
but there are a good few out there that started (cycling) once the GAA stopped.”
As the cycling season winds down, Kennedy can look back on achieving his two big goals this year, competing in the Rás Tailteann and Rás Mumhan.
“Competing in them two events were my two main goals. I went to the Rás (Tailteann) badly injured. I had a nasty gash on my hand as I crashed in Wicklow 10 days beforehand. It
wouldn’t heal on time. I rode the event but it was tough to deal with.”
As he starts to prepare for the off season, Kennedy will finish competing this month before returning to pre season training in mid October. He hopes to complete warm weather training
in Spain as he sets one clear goal for next year.
“The World Championships are in August next year so I hope to compete in the Time Trial and Road Race there. I only did the Time Trial in Italy as the Road Race was too hilly.
“The season itself is intense when it gets going. I’m going to finish up for a bit and then try get some good training done. We would be cycling most weekends and sometimes there are
midweek races too so you have to be ready.”