Tough racing at the World Cyclo-cross Championships

The Cycling Ireland Off-road Commission sent 5 riders to the 2019 World Cyclo-cross Championships. The event was held over the weekend of 2-3 February at Bogense, Denmark. The team consisted of
Adam McGarr and Sean Nolan (Junior men), Lara Gillespie and Lucy O’Donnell (U23 women) and David Conroy (U23 men). Saturday was for Junior men and U23 men. Sunday was for the U23 women. On Saturday there was very cold and windy conditions on the exposed coastal course. Several steep banks and treacherous descents on the course. The course had a thin slice of mud on top but hard frozen ground underneath. Large entry of riders. Large crowds to cheer them on. These worlds had the most participants in the events history.

FROM ADAM MCGARR (61/71)
“The pace was very high, learnt a lot, brilliant experience.”

FROM LARA GILLESPIE (40/48)
“- I loved getting to watch how all the pros did all the technical parts and trying to replicate them
– I loved the steep sharp running sections
– I was disappointed with my start, having to run the first two bridges and getting my bike caught in the netting on the first descent but I fought back the best I could and am proud of myself for that.
– I loved having another girl my age on the team for the whole trip, practicing together and during the race.
– I really hope to be able to focus on cyclocross sometime after school and hockey because it is such a diverse sport and you never know what’s going to happen, making it so exciting!
– I’d really like to thank the whole Irish team, Andy, Martin, Eoin, the Conroy’s and my family for all the support and making the experience so memorable!”

FROM LUCY O’DONNELL (45/48)
“It was such an amazing experience. The standard of racing and the skill level was extremely high. It was a real education and it shows me where I need to develop and the work I need to put in to get to the standard of these girls. Enjoyed being part of a great team where everyone was so supportive and encouraging. It was a real privilege to represent my country and I hope to get that opportunity again.”

FROM DAVID CONROY (41/63)
“Yeah ok, so 41st from 70 U23 riders. Have to be happy with my race. I rode a strong race and made no mistakes and had no bad luck. Best result possible on the day. Happy I gave it my all on a track that didn’t excite or suit me. I’m sure there’s 70 other riders thinking the same, although I’m happy with the ride I put in on the day, I still want and need to get fitter and step up another level for next season.”

SEAN NOLAN
Sean ended up in a crash near the plank obstacles. Sean rode two laps with a broken shoulder, broken thumb and finger.

A big thanks to the support team – Eoin Murphy (mechanic), Richard Conroy (Driver/Logistics), Martin Eadon (Technical Coach) and Andy Layhe (Team Manager).
Thanks to all the staff in Cycling Ireland for helping to get the team underway. And thanks to the fans who travelled out to support the team and to those who passed on their well wishes.

Photos by Suzanne Clarke

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