Lara Gillespie and Orla Walsh will fly the Irish flag in this year’s UCI Track Champions League, with the first of five rounds beginning in Mallorca on Saturday, October 21st.
The prestigious league features five rounds of racing across Europe, beginning with the first round in Mallorca on Saturday, October 21st, and finishing in London on November 11th.
All riders competing in the Champions Track League are invited to participate directly by the UCI and are able to recruit personal sponsors to help meet costs, rather than compete for their National Teams, however, rankings points accrued will count towards their qualification for the 2024 Track World Championships.
The league format will mean at the end of the series, riders will gain an overall place, and the points gained from that classification are distributed into their individual rankings in their respective disciplines. points will also be awarded on each individual race in the series.
Gillespie will make her UCI Track Champions League debut and will have opportunities to earn rankings points for the elimination and scratch races as she competes in the endurance category.
The invitation comes as Gillespie enjoys a successful season that saw her win double gold in the U23 Track European Championships as well as continuous improvements at senior level in the UCI Track World Championships both as part of the women’s team pursuit unit and in individual competition.
But with the 2024 Olympic Games less than a year away, Gillespie is looking to gain more valuable experience rubbing shoulders among the world’s best in the UCI Track Champions League.
Lara Gillespie said, “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s such a great experience to get multiple weekends in a row of track racing – something I’ve never ever done before! It’s a huge opportunity to race against some of the best riders in the world and figure out about what kind of rider I really am and how I can tactically play my cards better. Of course, I just came off my off-season break so it is not a pressure point – performance wise, however it’s a great chance for me to develop my racing skills and get stronger each round.”
Walsh comes into the competition as a late call-up and will seek to earn qualification points in the sprint and keirin events, but with her focus on road in recent weeks, hopes that some late training can help her find some speed ahead of the first round.
Orla Walsh said, “I’m very excited to compete in Track Champions League again this year. I had so much fun racing last year as it is a completely different vibe to other events during the season. There’s a huge focus on making it an exciting show for spectators – from the lights and the projectors, to the commentary, to the speed of the schedule – it’s a very exciting experience.
“I had no idea I would be racing until just two weeks before it started. I was on a camp in Italy when I got the call and had spent several days climbing mountains 3-4 hours a day. Absolutely not the best prep for a world class sprint competition! I spent the past week panic training at the UCI Centre – so fingers crossed I found some speed.”
The racing series offers a unique experience for both riders and fans such as riders’ live data such as power output will be used during the TV production.
More information on the UCI Track Champions League can be found here.