Medal Rush at Track Cycling Nations Cup
Strong Performances by Irish Track Cyclists to Claim 4 Medals
Irish track cyclists stormed to success this weekend at the Track Cycling Nations Cup in St. Petersburg. Over the four-day competition Ireland claimed two Gold medals and two Bronze medals breaking two National Records in the process.
The medal winning performances started with Ireland’s Team Pursuit squad claiming Gold on day one of the competition. Lara Gillespie, Mia Griffin, Kelly Murphy and Alice Sharpe were fastest in the qualifiers with a time of 4:24.475 which saw them face slowest qualifiers Belarus in the next round. Ireland’s quartet had a emphatic victory over Belarus which saw them progress to the gold-silver ride-off against the home nation. The Irish proved too strong for the Russian squad over the final laps, clocking a time of 4:21.411 ahead of Russia’s time of 4:23.276. The time was a fraction of a second off the National Record of 4:21.368.
Murphy, Griffin and Gillespie went on to claim three more medals for Ireland on Saturday. Murphy and Griffin both competed in the Women’s Individual Pursuit. In the qualifiers Murphy set the fastest time of 3:29.51 breaking the previous National Record of 3:29.699 which Murphy set at the Track World Championships in Berlin last year. Murphy went on to beat Alena Ivanchenko of Russia in the final clocking a time of 3:30.422, over two and half seconds faster than her opponent.
Griffin who qualified the third fasted time faced Mariia Miliaeva of Russia in the bronze medal ride-off. Griffin powered to victory beating her Russian opponent by seven and a half seconds to claim the Bronze medal with a time of 3:37.075.
Gillespie added to Ireland’s medal haul claiming Bronze in the four-event Omnium finishing with 110 points, 21 points behind Gold medallist Maria Martins (Portugal) and seven points behind silver medallist Verena Eberhardt (Austria). She placed fifth in the scratch race, second in the tempo race, eight in the elimination race and finished fourth in the points race.
Orla Walsh also had a successful weekend setting a new 500m Time Trial National Record of 35.103. The record breaking ride saw Walsh qualify fifth fastest and later placed fifth in the final. Walsh lined up in the Women’s Sprint and progressed to the quarterfinals after beating Katharina Albers of Germany in the 1/8 finals but was beaten by multiple world champion Anastasiia Voinova of Russia. On the final day of competition Walsh narrowly missed out on qualification for the Women’s Keirin finals, finishing 0.379 behind Heat 2 winner Yano Yshchenko of Russia.
Rising star, JB Murphy was competing amongst the seniors finishing 13th in the Men’s Elimination race and 10th in the four-event Omnium while Alice Sharpe finished 12th in the Women’s Elimination race. On Sunday, Women's Madison pairing of Lara Gillespie and Mia Griffin were involved in a crash during the early stages of the 120 lap race. Both athletes are well and looking forward to returning to competitive action.