Offaly’s Francine on paralympic cycling countdown

Irish rugby captain Paul O’Connell was on hand recently to start the countdown to the London Paralympics for the Irish Paracycling team.

Irish rugby captain Paul O’Connell was on hand recently to start the countdown to the London Paralympics for the Irish Paracycling team.

The team marked the milestone by launching a team blog which will chart the final preparations as the team sends its largest paracycling representation to the Paralympic Games in London.

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The paracyclingireland.com blog will include regular updates from team members in addition to profiling all members of the Paracycling team and management. The Irish team have secured seven slots in Paracycling for the 2012 games and will travel to London holding five current world titles.

On the Irish team is Offaly’s Francine Meehan. She is pilot of the Women’s B Tandem Category 3km Pursuit World Champions with Catherine Walsh (Swords). The duo will be hoping to add Paralympic Glory to the achievements. They also compete in the Track 1km Time Trial and Road Time Trial and Road Race.

They will be joined by Ireland’s second women’s tandem pairing of Katie-George Dunlevy based in London and pilot Cork woman Sandra Fitzgerald recent Road World Cup Gold Medallists in Spain at the Games in London.

Team Manager Denis Toomey explained the level of interest is so high in the team based on the recent World title successes that it was important to establish a platform to detail the preparations for the London games.

Denis Toomey outlined, “The team has seven bikes competing in the Road Competitions and six bikes in the Track Competitions so preparation has involved a lot of travel to gain valuable training time on an indoor Velodrome not available to the squad at home. The road racing preparation has also involved participation in Paracycling World Cup races in Italy and Spain.”

He added, “This joint initiative with team sponsor Focus Consulting provides an ideal platform to keep the many fans and supporters right up to date on our preparations and how things are going during the Games themselves. Pressure will be on to follow our 2011 and 2012 World Championship successes with Ireland’s first ever Paralympic Cycling Medals. On current form the squad are in a great position to produce the necessary results in London.”

The website and blogs can be accessed on www.paracyclingireland.com.