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Damien Shaw, Mallorca and the World Championships

posted 14 Feb 2011, 13:43 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Sarah Piner)
I’m sure all club members have heard about Damien Shaw’s success in being selected to represent Ireland in the Para-cycling World Championships and recently attending a training camp. Damien started cycling barely a year ago and thanks to hard work and some natural talent he took to it fairly quickly! His best result of the year was winning the Ballinrobe 2 day in August. He rode a fantastic Time trial beating a lot of the A1 and A2 riders, it was clear he was going to have a good cycling career after that!

I have spoken to Damien to get the full details and to learn more about what the Para-cycling World championships are and his role on the team. Damien is riding a tandem with his partner Andy Fitzgerald, Damien on the front (the pilot) and Andy on the back (the stoker).

Tell us firstly about the Championships?
The athletes representing their countries at this event (World Championships) are elite athletes with a disability. There are various categories with the same disciplines as those athletes without a disability. Myself and my partner Andy Fitzgerald are racing the 4km and 1km persuit. There will be others on the team doing different events, including Fran Meehan from Tullamore cycling club who also does the job of pilot to Catherine Walshe.

What’s it like racing a tandem, you must feel very responsible as the pilot?
Yes it was strange at first, you have to be really conscious of the person on the back. The bike handles very differently to when I’m riding on my own!

Its real team work then!
Of course yes, we rode together twice a day in Mallorca and roomed together. We got on well which is important. Andy is an accomplished cyclist, his big result to date is 9th in the World Championships last year and is also National Champion for the tandem TT.

I’m sure you are confident that repeating or bettering the result is achievable?
Well let’s just say our times in Mallorca were encouraging!

Outside of the World Championships what goals have you set for yourself?

The first is the Donegal 3 day, I hope to do well in stage races this year. I’m looking forward to the Mullingar 2 day of course! The Mullingar critirium will be something for me to go for, the track training should be a help in this kind of race. I will be doing a lot of the National races with the Lakeside Wheelers team as last year, hopefully we will get some good results again! There is also a plan to do the World road race Championships and a stage race in Belgium, both with Andy.

What about the track as an individual cyclist?
I’m looking at next winter to start, I will concentrate on the road after the World Championships this year.

You must be very happy with how your cycling has improved over the last year?
Yes it’s great to be on the Irish team and hopefully with a good season ahead. I have to say thank you to Steven and Craig in Outdoor Escape for their support with training and the use of the training room in the bad weather. Having the club support has been great, encouragement and advice on training spins is always appreciated.

Thank you Damien & Good Luck…
Damien (right) with Andy Fitzgerald