Ireland Secure Silver at UCI Tissot Track Nations Cup

Posted in: Women's Cycling, Track Racing
By GAVIN QUINN, Cycling Ireland, Press Officer
Mar 15, 2024 - 7:32:51 PM


Ireland Secure Silver And New Women’s Team Pursuit National Record At UCI Tissot Track Nations Cup

Ireland secured a silver medal and a new national record in the Women’s Team Pursuit after a successful opening day of the UCI Tissot Nations Cup Hong Kong on Friday, March 15th.

In a very significant step towards securing qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games later this year, Ireland picked up a silver medal after racing against New Zealand in the gold medal final.

The team of Lara Gillespie, Mia Griffin, Alice Sharpe and Kelly Murphy set a time of 4:15.697 in the first round to smash the national record* previously set by the same quartet in February 2023.

In the gold medal final, Ireland rode well with a time of 4:19.795 but the team were ultimately beaten by New Zealand as silver medal on the podium was confirmed.

Ireland were fast out of the blocks in qualifying, setting a time of 4:20.503 to qualify in second place behind only New Zealand.

Paired with Australia in the first round, the team put in their best performance in the event yet to not only smash the national record but maintain their place as second fastest and book a spot in the gold medal final.

The result further underlines the progress of the Women’s Team Pursuit Unit following a successful Brisbane Training Camp after the opening round of the UCI Tissot Track Nations Cup in Adelaide last month.

Ireland is now in a strong position for Women’s Team Pursuit qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games after finishing ahead of most other nations in contention.

Ireland came into this weekend in 6th in qualifying, with the top ten booking a ticket to Paris this summer.

Olympic Qualification points will be updated here next week. Qualification for the Track Cycling closes on April 14th following the final round of the UCI Tissot Nations Cup in Milton, Canada.

Lara Gillespie said:

"It was just really amazing to execute and deliver a plan that we had spoken about, trained so hard and raced for previously. It's really satisfying to execute and deliver something that we know we've been capable of. We've been training and going really well the past few weeks and we had that inner confidence to carry us through all our rides today. As a group we've stepped up racing and training as a unit and it all came together at the right time."

"Not only does it reflect the great training block that we had in Australia, but it also reflects the past few years in how every rider has given absolutely everything to the Team Pursuit. We've sacrificed and committed a lot. We were absolutely gunning for a podium spot today and it's good to get three really solid rides out. We're really looking forward to the next few months, building on our performance. Today was a high and emotional day - a big box ticked."

Kelly Murphy said:

“We have been away from home for nearly two months now, competing in Adelaide before basing ourselves in Brisbane for a training camp to lead into Hong Kong. Brisbane was a pivotal camp for us, with good weather, we could load the training up whilst minimizing exposure to cold and sickness. Thanks to the Queensland cycling community, we also had access to training on a warm and fast track so we could rehearse in the conditions in which we aimed to race.”

“We were all hitting PB’s in the gym and on the track, and the uninterrupted time together meant we are more in sync now than we ever have been. We can read one another’s body language better, communicate better within the race and manage pace and distance better than we ever have done. I’d like to thank Cycling Ireland and the Queensland cycling folk for giving us the time and space to prepare to hit the goals we knew we could.”

Mia Griffin said:

“We’re really happy with what we did today, we got the performance out that we worked so hard for. I think our training block in Australia – six weeks spent on the track and road – paid dividends. That solid amount of time together helped us go into the ride today with confidence. Even though there was a lot riding on today, we could take peace on the fact that we were really well prepared.”

“It’s nice coming home with a silver medal and giving us confidence going into the next few months is really important. It’s such a good stepping stone towards breaking into those faster times – we're getting very competitive against the bigger nations.”

Alice Sharpe said:

“I think to have all this time together and in training repeating this ride together. I think it’s been a long time coming, but that frequent time on the track and a big, prolonged training block with the same goal in mind really helped for the ride to come together. Getting closer and closer to the Olympics is such a huge confidence boost.

“If we don’t end up going to Milton (Final UCI Tissot Nations Cup Round) then this would have been our last Team Pursuit ride together before the Olympics, (The Silver Medal is) a nice note to end on and when we get back to training it’s something to look back on and be proud of.”

Erin Creighton was also in action in the opening day of the event, sealing an encouraging ninth place in the Elimination Race as she continues her development with the Irish National Team.

On Saturday, Mia Griffin and Alice Sharpe are scheduled to take to the start of the Women's Madison Final at 11am Irish time.

*All new national records are provisional and subject to formal ratification by Cycling Ireland.