Cycling Ireland has announced the Ireland team to compete at the 2023 UEC European Road Championships in Drenthe, Netherlands, from September 20th to 24th.
A talented team of some 26 riders will represent Ireland at the championships across the junior, U23, and elite categories for both men and women. The team includes 17 of the team that competed in the 2023 UCI Road World Championships in Glasgow last month.
With UEC European Road Championships traditionally a course that favours riders with a fast finish in sprints, Ireland will be hoping to be in the thick of the action when it comes to the end of road races and time trials.
It’s a busy opening day on September 20th with all individual time trials taking place, elite women and men take on a 29.5km course while junior and U23 riders face a 20.6km course in Drenthe.
The road races feature an almighty climax in a finishing circuit that sees riders race up with Col Du Vam (400m at 10%) at the end of every lap. All races feature a number of laps around the circuit to decide who will claim the illustrious European champion’s jersey.
Four riders will take to the line for the elite men road race on September 24th as Sam Bennett features in a line-up including Ryan Mullen, Dillon Corkery and Rory Townsend. Townsend will be hoping to replicate his strong breakaway display at the World Championships while Mullen, Corkery and Bennett will be aiming to make the most of a largely flat parcours.
Mullen will start the time trial on September 20th. He put in a strong display to earn a top twenty finish in a stellar field earlier this month.
Alice Sharpe and Megan Armitage return to represent Ireland in the road race after the World Championships, the duo will look to work together in the absence of Lara Gillespie (racing in the separate U23 women road race) in a demanding elite women road race on Saturday, September 23rd.
Kelly Murphy once again competes at the time trial on September 20th as she hopes to improve on her 15th place finish at the 2022 European Road Championships.
After an encouraging showing at the World Championships and a successful Tour de l’Avenir, Ireland’s U23 men’s team look to finish the season on a high in the road race on Thursday, September 22nd.
Darren Rafferty and Archie Ryan will hope for a strong showing while Jamie Meehan, Odhran Doogan and Dean Harvey form strong support. Kevin McCambridge also features following an impressive Tour de l’Avenir.
In the time trial, Rafferty looks to improve on a 5th place finish at the World Championships while Harvey can also build on a good showing at Stirling earlier this month.
A strong U23 women’s selection will be spearheaded by Lara Gillespie as four riders will compete in the U23 women’s road race on Thursday, September 22nd.
Elite and U23 national champion Gillespie has been in fine form this season and is joined by first year U23 rider Erin Creighton as well as Caoimhe and Aoife O’Brien – all three of which will also represent Ireland at the 2023 Rás na mBan later this week.
A bolstered squad of six junior men will take on the road race on Saturday, September 23rd, as Seth Dunwoody and Liam O’Brien once again take to the line. But this time they’ll have multiple other teammates as Adam Rafferty, Cal Tutty, Oisin Ferrity and Patrick Casey also feature.
The junior men time trial sees O’Brien and Rafferty once again on the TT bike following 11th and 8th place finishes at the World Championships, Patrick Casey will also take to the start line in Drenthe.
Lucy Benezet Minns and Aine Doherty will once again represent Ireland in the junior women’s category while Spanish-based rider Julia Murphy makes her first appearance for Ireland at an international level. All three riders will ride in the time trial on September 20th and the road race on September 24th.