THE Irish women’s tandem of Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal are in the form of their lives heading into the Paralympic Games.
The pair produced a time of 50 minutes six seconds in a 25-mile Time Trial in Woodgreen last month, a time over two minutes faster than the long-standing previous Irish record of 52 minutes 35 seconds set in 2006.
Subject to ratification by the Board of Cycling Ireland, their time is likely to be deemed new Paracycling national record in due course.
It was a huge confidence boost for the female tandem ahead of the Games, which run from September 7 to September 18.
The team arrived in the Olympic and Paralympic Village on September 2, but the road events do not begin until September 14, after the track, which runs from the September 8 to 11.
At the Games there will be seven Irish bikes competing; Dunlevy and McCrystal (W B Tandem), Damien Vereker and Sean Hahessy (M B Tandem), Peter Ryan and Marcin Mizgajski (M B Tandem), Eoghan Clifford (MC3), Colin Lynch (MC2), Declan Slevin (MH3) and Ciara Staunton (WH2).
Having come so close to a medal in London 2012, Crawley-born Dunlevy – who is visually impaired – is looking to put her demons to rest, although she’s taking nothing for granted.
“We know the other bikes are going to really push on and we know we have to do the same,” she told The Irish Post.
“We can't be complacent; we need to keep pushing. We have belief in each other and have each other's backs on and off the bike. Every race we do we still learn and get stronger as a team.
“We are really looking forward to Rio. I take one day at a time and commit to everything I do. It's all towards getting better as an athlete. Our coach Neill Delahaye is a vital part of our team and we have full trust in him as well.”