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Irish Rider Signs For UCI World Cycling Centre Road Team

IRELAND’S Alice Sharpe could gain World Tour experience this summer, after signing a professional road racing contract with the UCI’s new World Cycling Centre women’s team.

The 24-year-old, part of Ireland’s fast-improving Women’s Team Pursuit squad on the track, moves from Manchester outfit Team Torelli and will be based at the UCI's state-of-the-art facility in Aigle, Switzerland from March.

Irish cyclist Alice SharpeSharpe (left) said: “I went straight to Switzerland after racing the Track World Cup in Hong Kong to meet all the people involved in the team and go through their tests. The facilities at the World Cycling Centre are amazing; anything you could think of, they have it.

“It’s a great opportunity and will be my first year racing at UCI level. It should be exciting so I’m looking forward to getting started properly in March.”

The UCI WCC has always trained riders, trainees Paula Patiño (Colombia) and Nguyen Thi That (Vietnam) being signed by World Tour teams Movistar and Lotto-Soudal last year, but in 2019 it steps up on that with a full women’s road racing team.

The aim is to develop elite riders in nations without women’s professional teams, this season with a view to qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The team is set to race one-day 1.1-ranked races in Europe first, but will also race in WorldTour events, giving the riders coveted experience and exposure at the highest level.

Alice Sharpe impressed selectors at the European and World Road Racing Championships last year, having also been third to more established riders Eve McCrystal and Lydia Gurley at the Irish National Road Racing Championships.

Her eight team mates hail from Paraguay, Eritrea, Argentina, Belarus, Ethiopia, Trinidad & Tobago, Switzerland, and Cuba, and she will travel to Switzerland to meet them before preparations begin in earnest for the Track Cycling World Championships in Poland.

They begin on February 27, finishing on March 2, with Sharpe’s first race for WCC set to be the UCI 1.1-ranked Le Samyn Des Dames in Belgium on March 5. You can find out more about the World Cycling Centre: HERE.

Full Roster of 2019 UCI WCC Team:

Agua Marina Espinola - 22, Paraguay
Anastasiya Kolesava - 18, Belarus
Alice Louise Sharpe - 24, Ireland
Desiet Kidane - 18, Eritrea
Eyeru Tesfoam Gebru - 22, Ethiopia
Fernanda Yapura - 20, Argentina
Marlen Reüsseer - 27, Switzerland
Marlies Medias Garcia - 26, Cuba
Teniel Victoria Campbell - 20, Trinidad & Tobago
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