Irish time trial champion Ryan Mullen earned a bronze medal at the European time trial championships in Herning, Denmark on Thursday. The 22-year-old finished four-seconds off the title-winning time, stopping the clock at 53:18 following the 46-kilometer test. Mullen earned a brief stint in the race leader’s hot seat before his time was bested first by Maciej Bodnar (BORA-hansgrohe) and then Victor Campenaerts (LottoNL-Jumbo)
“No one wants to come third,” said Mullen. “I came here to win. If I was 30 seconds, 20 seconds off, that’s different. I did my best power ever. I put out 442 watts for 54 minutes. I’ve never done that in my life, so I’m delighted with that.”
Anyone who watched the women’s race in the morning would have expected to see the afternoon’s time trial contested on wet roads, but the out-and-back course dried out before the first of the senior men took to the start house.
“It was drizzly when I warmed up, but it dried up really fast once the rain stopped,” noted Mullen. “I’d say it was 20 degrees and sunny but still windy.”
The out-and-back course featured mostly straight roads with a handful of turns.
“It was a perfect course for my characteristics,” said Mullen. “The long straights meant I could stay small, stay aero. If I was ever going to win a Euro Champs time trial, it was going to be today. I mean, I’m still going to develop, but this course couldn’t have been any more perfect for me.
“I didn’t get to look at the corners of the course with the barriers and that could have hindered me,” said Mullen. “The barriers cut the corners, and you had to take different lines in each. I had to take them two or three kilometers slower than I would have had I known what to expect.”
Although Mullen’s immediate reaction to the ride is frustration at missing out on the title, he recognizes the gains he’s made over the last year.
“Coming third in Euros, fifth at Worlds. I’m 22. I have to be happy with that,” he said. “I’ll continue to develop, and at some point, hopefully before the year is over, I’ll win something. I’m delighted with my ride, but five seconds? It’s annoying to miss out by five seconds.”