Ireland enjoyed an encouraging opening day at the UEC Track European Championships at Grenchen, Switzerland, on Wednesday, February 8th.
The team of Alice Sharpe, Lara Gillespie, Kelly Murphy, and Mia Griffin finished in fifth place in the women’s team pursuit qualifying in the afternoon session.
Ireland set the standard early on with a strong time of 4:21.426 ahead of Thursday’s first round, finishing top of the provisional standings ahead of Poland, Switzerland, and Spain with four teams still to ride.
However, the final four qualifiers of Great Britain, Italy, France, and Germany also set strong times to push Ireland into fifth place after the qualifying round, with Great Britain leading the way with a time of 4:11.594.
Ireland will now be matched with Poland in round one, who finished eighth in qualifying on Wednesday, and know that a top-four time in the first round will secure a place in the finals, which will take place later on Thursday evening.
In the team pursuit event, the two fastest teams from round one will race for gold and silver while third and fourth will race for a bronze medal.
The performance comes after Emily Kay withdrew from the squad last month due to injury, with Mia Griffin replacing her in the only change to the line-up that competed at the 2022 Track World Championships.
Alice Sharpe was back in action in the evening session at the Tissot Velodrome as she raced in the women’s scratch race.
She finished in 12th place in the women’s scratch race that saw the bunch denied a sprint for the win as Portugal’s Maria Martins and Spain’s Eukene Larrate Arteaga took gold and silver.
The duo wasn’t caught by the bunch following a breakaway inside the final ten laps as Sharpe sprinted to 12th place.
Day Two Schedule
Attention now switches to Thursday’s action as Ireland look forward to a busy day as the championships continue.
Orla Walsh is in sprint qualifying action at 11 am Irish time. Depending on results, Walsh could also race in the 1/16, 1/8 and quarter finals later in the day.
The first round of the women’s team pursuit is scheduled for 12.27 pm Irish time while the finals take place 7.36 pm should Ireland qualify.
Mia Griffin will race in the women’s elimination race scheduled to begin at 6.24 pm Irish time.
Full Results and schedule information is available here