2023 Road National Championships Senior & U23 Women's Race Preview And Start List

Posted in: Women's Cycling
By Gavin Quinn, Communications Officer, Cycling ireland
Jun 20, 2023 - 5:40:56 PM

The Senior Women's road race, incorporating the U23 category, at the 2023 Road National Championships takes place at 1pm on Saturday, June 24th in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone.

In what has been an exciting season for women's cycling with some of the sport's young stars making waves on the domestic racing season, a number of international riders have also made history in grand tours and stage races in Europe.

Eight professional riders will take the start line on Saturday with strong claims for success, including reigning national champion Alice Sharpe.

A hugely competitive field, riders will take on a 122.6km course featuring an opening loop before four laps of a race circuit which is sure to separate the strongest riders from the rest. A technical final five kilometres with some short but sharp climbs and a relatively flat finish offers something for every kind of rider to stake a claim for victory.

This year is the first year an U23 category will be incorporated into the senior women's road race. The first U23 rider to cross the line, irrespective of their placing in the senior race, will become 2023 U23 national champion.

Here's a number of riders to watch in the senior women and U23 road race at the 2023 Road National Championships.

Riders To Watch

Alice Sharpe
The reigning national champion, Alice Sharpe is hoping to defend her jersey this weekend. An important member of the Irish National Team on the track, Sharpe has stiff competition in her bid to retain her crown.

Caoimhe O'Brien (U23)
The in-form rider in Ireland this season, Caoimhe O'Brien has been in fine form in recent weeks and leads the senior women's category of the Road National Series. An all-rounder with a strong sprint, O'Brien is one to watch on Saturday.

Mia Griffin
One of the strongest riders on this year's start list, Griffin has ridden multiple races on the UCI World Tour in 2023 and is an experienced track cyclist with the Irish National Team. Despite an injury setback in the spring, Griffin is hoping to make a mark in Dungannon.

Imogen Cotter
Another rider from the women's pro peloton, Cotter underlined her steady comeback from a serious injury with a win in this month's fifth round of the Road National Series. A strong climber and 2021 national champion, Cotter knows what it takes to be crowned national champion.

Fiona Mangan
The 27-year-old made history earlier this year as she became the first-ever Irish woman to finish a Grand Tour in La Vuelta Femenina. Riding for Spanish team Soltec, Mangan will be another rider to watch with a strong claim for victory.

Megan Armitage
Another history maker, Megan Armitage this year became the first Irish woman to win a UCI-ranked stage race in the Vuelta Extremaduras Feminas. Armitage has gained huge experience in racing a variety of UCI World Tour races this season and will hope to utilise that experience on Saturday.

Lara Gillespie (U23)
A versatile rider across multiple disciplines, Lara Gillespie will be one of the marked riders on Saturday. Competing for the Irish National Team on the track, she picked up numerous UCI track wins in recent weeks and also earned a big win on the road at Schellebelle in Belgium on June 13th. Gillespie comes into this weekend in strong form.

Linda Kelly
Linda Kelly is a key member of the Irish Para-cycling squad and has spent much of the season competing at UCI World Cups. Partnered with Katie-George Dunlevy in the women's tandem, the duo picked up several gold medals and won the overall classification in the UCI World Cup. A strong all-round rider, Kelly demonstrated her strength in the hills in round four of the Road National Series earlier this month and is a rider who the rest can't afford to let out of their sights.


2023 Road National Championships Road Races

Senior Men - Distance: 166.2km
Elevation: 2024m
Route: Opening loop and six laps

Senior Women - Distance: 122.6km (Including 3km neutral start)
Elevation: 1461m
Route: Opening loop and four laps

Junior Men - Distance: 122.6km
Elevation: 1461m
Route: Opening loop and four laps

Junior Women - Distance: 65.4km
Elevation: 843m
Route: No opening loop and three laps (Provisional)


Full Start List link...