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Gillespie, McDunphy and McLoughlin get Team Ireland's UCI World Road Championships Under Way


Lara Gillespie was best of the Irish on the first day of action for the Irish riders at the World Championships in Inssbruck-Tirol today.

The Wicklow rider finished 19th in the Women's Junior Time Trial, in her first race at a UCI World Road Championships.

The first year junior was the first of 19 Irish riders competing across ten events over each of the next seven days and, after playing her way into the 19.8km course at Wattens in the opening kilometres, Gillespie powered over the main climb followed by a steep climb from Mils to Absam with 100 vertical metres of elevation gain.

Gillespie raced down the to the finish at Swarovski Crystal, Innsbruck, stopping the clocks in a time of 28m15.41s, 1m12s slower than race winner Rozemarijn Ammerlan of the Netherlands.

"I was happy because I pushed as hard as I could," The European track champion said afterwards.

"I knew I was in good form from the track and then I came back and had a bit of a rest after euros and worlds on the track and then I came back and I got a bit sick but I still got some good training in and was really looking forward to getting more experience.

"I just had like a moment of ‘Oh I can go harder here' so I put my head down and that was good and also I went faster because I thought the one kilometre to go arch was the actual finish so I full on sprinted and realised and then I went harder again and pushed harder again. I pushed myself twice for the finish!"

Gillespie was followed by Conn McDunphy and Michael McLoughlin competing in the Men’s Under-23 Time Trial in the afternoon. Competing in his first world championships McDunphy was among the early starters and completed the hilly 27.7km course in a time of 34m37.49s for what would eventually turn out to be 38th position of the 71 riders.

Starting further up the order, Michael McLoughlin produced a time of 33m58.68s, 1m27s behind the defending, and double, Under 23 World Time Trial Champion, Mikkel Bjerg of Denmark.

Speaking afterwards, McDunphy was satisfied that he had given a full account of himself and hadn't been fazed by the experience.

“I really don’t know quite what to expect so I’m happy enough," said the Dubliner. "I got it all out so you can’t really ask for much more. It was surreal rolling down the start ramp quite a technical course. Quite hard to judge.

"The first five km were probably the most important because there was a headwind. I held back probably a little bit too much so lost a bit of time there but other than that it was good and I managed to keep the speed rolling. First ever world champs so, happy enough.

"I wasn’t nervous leading up to it but this morning I was a little bit nervous but you get nervous for every race. I just treated it as another time trial and tried to just go over the finishing line not being able to see which is the goal of every TT!"

McLoughlin, too, felt content with his time trial effort and felt the route designers had struck the right balance in creating a course which produced a competitive race.

"I was quite happy with it," the Tipperary rider said afterwards. "I felt like it got the effort out on the course. It was a very fast course and had a couple of technical bits that you had to be wary of and two climbs as well.

"Training went well. I haven’t raced in about three of four weeks, since Tour de l’Avenir, so I was just training. Things are going well and I feel relatively fresh for the end of the season, because I missed a big chunk of the early season. No, the preparation was quite good I thought.

"Compared to the last few years I thought it was a more raceable course . There were a couple of technical bits that you have to be wary of and two climbs as , but it wasn’t as bad as Doha or Richmond in that sense.

And there were no laps either, it was just the start and finish were in two different places, so it was a straight through run. I thought it was quite a good course and if you look at the times, if you take a minute off of most times, you would jump up 20 or 30 spots, it was very close. Every position, there was only two or three seconds between them, so I thought it was a good course for that.

McLoughlin will be back in action on Friday in the Men's Under 23 Road Race while Gillespie rides the Junior Women's Road Race on Thursday.

Tomorrow afternoon Eileen Burns and Kelly Murphy compete in the Women’s Elite Time Trial, which follows Aaron Doherty and Ben Healy riding the Men’s Junior Time Trial on the same hilly 27.7km course .

SCHEDULE (Irish Times):

Tuesday 25th September

9.10am Junior Men’s TT

Aaron Doherty

Ben Healy

1.40pm Elite Women’s TT

Eileen Burns

Kelly Murphy

Wednesday 26th September

1.10pm Elite Men’s TT

Nicolas Roche

Ryan Mullen

Thursday 27th September

8.10am Junior Women’s RR

Lara Gillespie

Maeve Gallagher

1.40pm Junior Men’s RR

Aaron Doherty

Ben Healy

Breandán Flannagan

Archie Ryan

Friday 28th September

11.10am U23 Men’s RR

Eddie Dunbar

Michael O’Loughlin

Matt Teggart

Daire Feeley

Darragh O'Mahony

Saturday 29th September

11.10am Elite Women’s RR

Alice Sharpe

Sunday 30th September

8.40am Elite Men’s RR

Dan Martin

Nico Roche

Conor Dunne

Ryan Mullen


Further Information:

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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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