24 July 10:19 (BST)

Baker's boy McKEE (IRL) has a point to prove in mountain bike challenge

GLASGOW - Bakery deliveryman Gareth McKEE (IRL) aims to rise to the top in mountain biking at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

McKEE says he has a point to prove after missing out on a place in Northern Ireland's team for April's Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games despite meeting the qualifying standards.

After winning his sixth national title on 22 July, the Banbridge Cycling Club rider, who will compete for Ireland in Glasgow, is relishing the chance to show all the training has been worth it.

"I was very disappointed as I had made the Commonwealth Games my big goal of the season," 30-year-old McKEE said.

"I carried on training despite missing out, but you do lose a bit of focus. I've got that back and I certainly have a point to prove. I've worked really hard this year.

"The team for the world championships [in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in September] has not been selected yet, and that is another big target of mine.

"I deliver bread for a local bakery from 07:00 to 12:00 six days a week, then I go training, a lot of it on the road bike. I've also spent more time in the gym building up my strength."

McKEE missed the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow due to a knee injury, but has competed over the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails course.

"The course has been slightly modified since I competed on it," McKEE said. "But it is a massive advantage knowing it beforehand. It takes some of the pressure off.

"My form is good. I was 40th last year at the Europeans in Italy where there were a lot of challenging descents. This course will suit me more so I'm hoping for a good result."

CNS ig/rm/mb/tb

CNS content is available free of charge to all media. No copyright restrictions apply.