After a season which saw the women’s Cyclocross scene go from strength to strength all eyes will be on River Valley Park in Swords this Sunday for the National Cyclocross Championships, hosted by Swords CC. Defending Champion Fran Meehan will be the obvious favourite, but with new competitiors on the scene this year there will be several riders out to cause an upset. Cyclocross is an excellent spectator sport and this Sunday is sure to be worth seeing. Here’s who to watch out for in the women’s race:
The undisputed Queen of the Irish Cyclocross scene, she was recently mixing it up with Marianne Vos in Belgium’s Superprestige Cyclocross event. In an incredible dispay of riding the Aquablue rider held her own against her illustrious competition. Racing at that level will surely stand to her on Sunday.
Claire Oakley (photo / The Belgian Project)
Ulster’s Cyclocross scene is thriving and it’s Claire Oakley of Xmtb McConvey Cycles who has been dominating the women’s scene this year. She was unbeaten in the Ulster series with 7 wins out of 7 appearances. She’ll travel to Dublin this weekend hoping to continue her successful season.
Maria Larkin (photo / chicagocuttincrew.com)
The Mayo girl is based in Chicago where she is riding for the seriously hip Chicago Cuttin Crew (seriously, check out their webpage). Larkin is riding her local series, the Chicago Cyclocross Cup, a competition that attracts fields of up to 30 elite women and 40 beginners. Riding at this standard should give her an advantage on Sunday
Gill Smith, Lisa Miller and Mairead McGurk
The Ulster riders have all competed well in the Ulster series this season and they won’t be travelling all this way to make up numbers.
Orla Hendron (photo / Brian McArdle)
The Orwell rider who is more used to riding the boards was gifted a Cyclocross bike by her husband last year and she’s taken to it like a natural. Hendron describes remounts as being just like hopping onto a track bike. The experienced rider is never one to be underestimated.
One to watch: Emma Convey
Hendron will be joined by Orwell teammate Emma Convey. She’s been one of the most consistent riders on the scene this year, competing both North and South of the border and it seems the Orwell rider has found her calling. One to watch, her experience will stand to her this Sunday.