Irish Track Team Continue Bid for Olympic Qualification
The Irish Track Team competed in the opening round of the Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup in Adelaide, Australia over the weekend.
The Nations Cup comes after a successful start to the year at the UEC Track European Championships in January, where the team finished fourth in the Team Pursuit and picked up multiple top ten individual placings.
Mia Griffin, Lara Gillespie, Erin Creighton, Alice Sharpe and Kelly Murphy competed over the course of the weekend at the Nations Cup.
The team of Griffin, Gillespie, Sharpe and Murphy finished seventh in the qualifying round of the Team Pursuit. They came up against the USA in the first round, unfortunately finishing 3 seconds behind leaving the team in seventh place overall.
Gaining invaluable experience on the international stage, Creighton was in action in the Women’s Elimination Race where she finished 16th.
Sharpe and Griffin combined for the Women's Madison on the second day, where they secured a top ten finish.
Following on from her outstanding success at the Europeans, finishing one point shy of the bronze medal, Gillespie concluded the weekend with the Women’s Omnium. She opened the event up with a seventh-place finish in the Scratch Race.
Another strong performance, picking up 21 points and sixth place finish in the Tempo Race kept Gillespie in contention. An 18th place finish in the Elimination Race pushed he down the leaderboard going into the final event – the Points Race.
Gillespie put in yet another top-class performance, making her way back up to the leaderboard to finish in ninth place overall, and only one point away from a top five finish.
The team now remain in Australia before heading to Hong Kong for the second round of the Tissot UCI Nations Cup from the 15th – 17th of March.
The second round of the Nations Cup is another important opportunity to gain UCI ranking points to help secure qualification in the Team Pursuit for the Paris Olympics.
Speaking about the ongoing quest for qualification, Iain Dyer, High Performance Director with Cycling Ireland said:
“Since Adelaide the team have moved up a place in the Olympic Team Pursuit rankings to sixth place, but we’re amongst a very tight cluster of teams who will all be aiming to score well in their remaining opportunities, just like ourselves.
“All the European teams will be aware that with the Pan Am and Asian continental championships still to come there will be plenty of movement in the rankings in the coming months. However, we know if we perform well in Hong Kong next month, we can put it to bed and focus our attention on preparing for Paris.”