Lara Gillespie claimed gold at the U23 European Track Championships on Friday, July 14th, in the points race in Anadia, Portugal.
The 22-year-old from Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, rode extremely well picking up intermediate points in six sprints before holding off her rivals in the final sprint which awarded double points, sealing the win by seven points.
Gillespie was part of a select group of four that gained a lap on their opponents, claiming a 20-point bonus each. The points Gillespie won in the final three sprints proved decisive, outscoring her nearest rival, Maike Van Der Duin from the Netherlands to finish with 49 points.
Last month Gillespie was crowned elite and U23 National Champion on the road, sprinting to victory after a tough 122.6km race around the roads of Dungannon, Co. Tyrone.
Speaking after the points race, Gillespie said, “I am really, really happy. It was a great day on the bike. I felt really strong, so I am happy to pull it off. I am proud to be here and represent Ireland. We have a good team around us today so thank you to everyone and thank you to Cycling Ireland.”
On the same day, Stefan Caulfield-Dreier competed in the men’s U23 points race where he finished in 12th place, an encouraging finish in a strong field.
Earlier in the competition, Erin Creighton took an impressive fifth place finish in the scratch race.
Gillespie is back in action on Saturday, competing in the U23 women’s Omnium, which consists of four events: scratch race, tempo race, elimination race and points race.
Aaron Wade will also compete in the U23 men’s Omnium. Competition concludes on Sunday with the Madison races which will see Erin Creighton and Aoife O’Brien partner together for the event, while Aaron Wade and Stefan Caulfield-Dreier will compete in the men’s Madison.
Competition details are available here.