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‘Supersonic’ Christie in fine fettle after US stint

MARCUS Christie appears to be in fine fettle ahead of his bid to break the world hour record.

The Bready native has been training intensely in Colorado Springs since January under the watchful eye of Andy Sparks and his Performance United team.

He has returned home for a month in order to win the National TT Championship title and on Thursday he laid down a marker over the Donegal course during a trial event as he lived up to his ‘Supersonic’ nickname.

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He blitzed the assembled Foyle CC organised race field, averaging 48.5km per hour over the testing 42.3km National TT course to finish more than three and a half minutes ahead of his nearest competitor, Donal Shearer. Then, on Saturday, he finished ninth overall for Performance SBR in the Bob Crilly Classic on Divis Mountain, Belfast, as he continued his preparations for later in the year.

“The training has been pretty hard in America,” admitted the 28-year-old. “The combination of altitude and just the intensity of the training has been paying off.

“Condition wise, I think I’m where I want to be at this point and I was happy with my numbers before I left America and then again at that TT the other night because it’s not an easy course.

“I treated it as a training run because I was training before it, so hopefully there’s more in the tank.”

Prior to his departure for America, Marcus was hoping to train for an attempt at Sir Bradley Wiggins’ hour record of 54.526km, which was set in 2015 in London.

However, on April 16 of this year, Belgian racer Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) successfully set a new mark of 55.089km at the Velodromo Bicentenario in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Although Marcus admits that result was frustrating, it still hasn’t changed his ultimate goal.

“The record is still in the 55k region, which is what we were targeting anyway,” he said philosophically.

“It is a pain in the ass, but I knew when he was dedicating six months of his pro career that it was going to happen, especially at altitude.

“It will add more to it if I can push it a little bit further, but we’ll see.

“We were intending on doing it where Campenaerts did it and now he’s done it there, we’ve no choice because it’s that fast you couldn’t do it at sea level.”

Christie intends to return to Colorado in early July, but before then he is focused on tying ‘up a few loose ends’.

“I want to tie up a few loose ends, like getting a bike sponsor for the record attempt when I’m here and if we can get a big result in the National TT that will help,” he added.

“The main priority is to win the National TT title and to do it so close to home is another incentive.”

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