First year junior races strongly at U23 Cyclocross Worlds 5th February 2018
Ireland’s Lara Gillespie demonstrated her cycling prowess and versatility last weekend, finishing 23rd in the U23 event, and was the fourth junior over the line, at the 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Valkenburg, the Netherlands.
The first-year junior won a silver medal in the Time Trial at last year’s European Youth Olympic Festival, and competed in the U23 event in the absence of a junior category.
Multi-talented Gillespie stormed to glory in the Elite Women’s National Cyclocross Championships earlier this month.
Speaking after the race the relieved 16-year-old was boosted by the crowds, with an estimated 40,000 spectators enjoying the weekend of racing – “That was an amazing experience, the crowds, and particularly the Irish fans, were amazing. There were so many people shouting for me, so thank you to everyone!”
Despite having missed time on the bike due to illness, Gillespie was well equipped in the fast and technical discipline – “I was sick last week and didn’t touch the bike for seven days, and it was touch and go if I would even make the start line.”
The young Orwell Wheelers rider has a busy schedule over the coming months, juggling cycling and running – “I have a few days off now and will be back to Belgium for the Junior Ghent-Wevelgem in March. Our school team has also been selected for the World Schools Cross Country Championships in Paris over Easter.”
At her first World Championship event Maria Larkin was 39th in the Elite Women’s race – “This was the most special race I’ve ever ridden. The crowd, the atmosphere and the Irish fans were amazing. My first lap was tough and I made a few mistakes. I could hear the Irish fans cheering my names as well as some of my Chicago friends.”
Gold Evie Richards (Great Britain)
Silver Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands)
Bronze Nadja Heigl (Austria)
23rd Lara Gillespie (Ireland) (4th Junior)
Gold Sanne Cant (Belgium)
Silver Katherine Compton (United States Of America)
Bronze Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)
39th Maria Larkin (Ireland)