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Battling Performance From Sharpe in World Road Race Championships

29/09/2018

Alice Sharpe has produced a trademark battling performance in her debut Women's Elite Road Race at the World Road Championships in Innsbruck. The race was won by Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands.

On one of the most demanding courses used in the world championships, 24-four-year Sharpe made it all the way to final finishing lap in Innsbruck before being asked to stop by race officials, just the second rider in the field to be required to stop.

At the time, Sharpe was 84th on the road out of an entry of 149 of the world's best road racers, a fine achievement in her first year of international competition.

She had much of the field behind her cresting the summit of the first climb of the day at Anstieg after 62km and she rode back into the wheels of the lead riders in time for the first of three laps of the 23.8km finishing circuit.

Having been badly delayed before the Anstieg and endured a hard chase when she was caught behind a crash that included world time trial champion Annamiek VanVleuten, Sharpe had used much precious energy by the first of three ascents of the 7km Igls climb and she spent much of the rest of her race riding solo.

In the end, she was denied the dearly hoped-for race finish but the national road race championship medallist was satisfied that she had left everything out on the road on what was a fast-run race.

“It was an amazing atmosphere and I was just happy to be selected,” she said. “It’s been a mad year. I was kind of expecting the racing to start later on in the day because it was quite a long hard course but it felt like it went from the gun.

“When they went up the short sharp climb fast and then the first climb on the finishing circuit that just blew the whole race apart so that’s where I lost contact with the bunch and it was a long slog after that.

“The next group on the road was two minutes behind but obviously in the race you don’t actually know that so I was kind of floating around in no-man’s land for a bit trying to decide whether to hang on but I wasn’t sure of the people behind were already being pulled but I probably wasted a bit of energy there so I just carried on riding.

“It was a bit annoying (when I had to put my foot down) because it was just before the (shorter) climb but I didn’t crash so it wasn’t so bad and I got back on soon after so I can’t complain too much.

“I was a bit disappointed (to be be pulled out) but I don’t think I can expect too much from myself. It’s my first (world) championships. I think I rode as hard as I could and put everything into it. I’m pleased with my performance.

“I was a bit nervous before the start obviously its the biggest race I’ve ever done and being the only Irish girl there I just wanted to do the best performance I could but as soon as the race started there were crowds the whole way around which were amazing so even when I was suffering I was still smiling. It was just an amazing atmosphere.

“This was definitely one of the toughest races I’ve done. I said that after Glasgow that that was the hardest race but I think this might have topped it. It was definitely the highest level race that I’ve done and just to be there even vaguely competing was amazing.”

The final race on the world championship schedule is the Men's Elite Road Race tomorrow with seven tough climbs on the 258.5km route including the fearsome Gramartboten. National Road Race Champion Conor Dunne, Dan Martin, Ryan Mullen and Nicolas Roche make up Ireland's squad for the race on a course that seems suited to Martin's abilities.

SCHEDULE (Irish Times):

Sunday 30th September

8.40am Elite Men’s RR

Dan Martin

Nico Roche

Conor Dunne

Ryan Mullen

ENDS

Further Information:

Rights Free Photography Available on Request

Official Website: https://www.innsbruck-tirol2018.com/en/

Cycling Ireland Website: www.cyclingireland.ie

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CI Twitter: @irecyclingfed

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