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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 Scott-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.”

The National Champion in the Junior Men’s Cyclocross event, Thomas Creighton, finished 50th in the event, and described a tough but enjoyable course – “The course was probably the toughest I’d every ridden, but you’d expect that from a World Championship event.”

In the Elite Men’s race Glenn Kinning finished 55th in tricky conditions – “The last week has been great. The support team has been excellent and so has the preparation. Today’s race was probably one of the hardest I’ve ridden. Conditions like that would probably have been called off back home!”

Mechanical issues affected U23 cyclocross talent David Conroy at the Championships – but the young rider is upbeat about the future – “My race didn’t go to plan, however, my season as a whole has been a success, and I’m already looking forward to building towards next season.”

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.”


U23 Women

Gold Evie Richards (Great Britain)

Silver Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands)

Bronze Nadja Heigl (Austria)

23rd Lara Gillespie (Ireland) (4th Junior)

Elite Women

Gold Sanne Cant (Belgium)

Silver Katherine Compton (United States Of America)

Bronze Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)

39th Maria Larkin (Ireland)

Elite Men

Gold Wout Van Aert (Belgium)

Silver Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium)

Bronze Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands)

55th Glenn Kinning (Ireland)

U23 Men

Gold Eli Iserbyt (Belgium)

Silver Joris Nieuwenhuis (Netherlands)

Bronze Yan Gras (France)

54th David Conroy (Ireland)

Junior Men

Gold Ben Tulett (Great Britain)

Silver Tomas Kopecky (Czech Republic)

Bronze Ryan Kamp (Netherlands)

52nd Thomas Creighton (Ireland)

57th Adam Mcgarr (Ireland)

70th Archie Ryan (Ireland)

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