Rafferty and Gillespie Star in Strong Day for Ireland at UCI Cycling World Championships

ByEmma Porter |

Darren Rafferty and Lara Gillespie starred in a strong day for Ireland as the UCI Cycling World Championships continued on Wednesday, August 9th.

In the Road World Championships, Rafferty picked up fifth place in the U23 Men’s Time Trial and came within a handful of seconds from a podium place while Lara Gillespie closed Ireland’s Track World Championships with a top ten finish in the Women’s Omnium.

Rafferty and Harvey both impressed in the U23 Men’s Time Trial in Stirling on Wednesday afternoon, with Rafferty finishing just seconds from a podium finish in 5th place.

Taking place over a fast 36.2km course around Stirling, riders took on a final 800m that featured a tough climb with a cobbled section until the finish line at the gates to the scenic Stirling Castle.

Harvey was among the day’s earlier starters and got the day off to a strong start as he finished 4th provisionally at the time of finishing, with his time of 45:08.13 setting an early benchmark for much of the field.

Harvey’s final two intermediate splits saw him gain some time on those around him in the standings and he placed 19th in the final standings after an excellent ride.

Taking to the start shortly after Harvey finished, Rafferty set a consistent pace throughout and was provisionally in fifth place at the first checkpoint after just under 13km.

With every intermediate checkpoint he solidified his place among the top contenders. A late surge in the final kilometres saw Rafferty fight his way onto a provisional podium. After a frantic rush to take his place on the podium hot seat, Rafferty sat alongside eventual winner Lorenzo Milesi before two late finishers saw him finish in 5th place in the official results.

An impressive time of 43:56.37 saw him finish just 5.22 seconds away from a bronze medal and just +56.01 from gold amongst the world’s best.

Darren Rafferty reflected on a good performance, “I think I got everything right on the day. It’s a great course and it was nice to test myself against the best. I had a good day; everything went to plan, and I just didn’t have enough legs for the medal. Nothing went wrong and I have to be happy with where I finished.

“It was a super hard course; it was great to have my family over and the atmosphere was unbelievable. The climb at the end was a bit of a brutal one but I’m glad it’s over now and onto the road race on Saturday.

“(I was on the hot seat) For a couple of minutes, but I knew it wasn’t going to last long in third spot! It’s always nice to get up there for a few minutes. I have a nice easy day tomorrow to meet up with the rest of the team (U23 men’s road race team) and hopefully I’ll have some good legs on the circuit in Glasgow.” 

Both Rafferty and Harvey will be part of the Ireland team riding in the U23 Men’s Road Race on Saturday, August 12th, that also includes Odhran Doogan, Aaron Wade and Jamie Meehan.

Lara Gillespie during the Women’s Omnium (Image: SWPix)

Lara Gillespie finished 9th in the Omnium after four events – the scratch, tempo, elimination and points races. The rider from Enniskerry has been on great form in recent weeks, winning the Omnium and Points race at the U23 European Track Championships last month.

In the opening scratch race Gillespie finished in 14th place in the bunch sprint, earning herself 14 points in a high paced race.

A strong finish for Gillespie in the tempo race saw her pick up a point on the finish line to place ahead of her competitors who didn’t manage to get a lap gain or any intermediate points.

A strong finish for Gillespie in the tempo race winning the final sprint gaining a point and earning herself a 7th place finish moving her up to 8th place overall in the Omnium rankings after two events.

An exciting and high paced elimination race which saw some of the race favourites eliminated early on in the race, Gillespie spent much of the race out of the danger zone, but ultimately was eliminated in 9th place.

Gillespie came into the final points race in 10th place and was active at the front for much of a thrilling race as she battled well in intermediate sprints.

In a rollercoaster race that saw many of the favourites attempt to gain lap and earn 20 points, Gillespie was positioned well and defended her place well to seal a 9th place finish – Ireland’s best performance in the Women’s Omnium at World Championships level.

Speaking after the Omnium, Lara Gillespie said, “I’m really tired but I’m really happy with that result, to be honest. There are so many hitters here and I said before coming in that I’d be happy with a top ten finish. I’m happy with how I raced. I just took each race as it came, and I knew I needed to improve on some places and I’m happy that I’m progressing each time.” 

Looking ahead to the U23 Women’s Road Race on Saturday, Gillespie added, “I did the circuit a few times during the week and I’m really looking forward to racing it with the girls. It’s my first senior World Championships on the road. I’m feeling good, I wasn’t feeling too good at the start of the week, but I feel like I’m riding into it and looking forward to that.” 

The first events of Para-Cycling Road World Championships kicked off today with hand cyclists Delcan Slevin and Allister MacSorley in Dumfries.

Experienced rider Declan Slevin was first to take on the 16.9km course in the MH3 category. Slevin completed the course in 28:43.12 some two and a half minutes down on gold medal winner, Mark Mekenkamp from the Netherlands. He finished 23rd overall against a strong field of riders.

Competing in his first Para-Cycling Road World Championship, Allister MacSorley suffered a crash during his race but recovered well and finished in 20th place, an encouraging result for the Time Trial National Champion in the handcycle category.

MacSorley and Slevin will be back in action on Friday competing in the road races.

Josephine Healion and Eve McCrystal will not compete in tomorrow’s women’s tandem time trial. Healion has been ruled out on medical grounds but is hoping to be ready to compete in this weekend’s road race.

Results – Wednesday, 9th August


Men U23 Time Trial : Darren Rafferty (5th), Dean Harvey (19th)

Para-Cycling Road 

  • MH3 Time Trial: Declan Slevin – 23rd
  • MH4 Time Trial: Allister MacSorley – 20th


Women Omnium (Overall): Lara Gillespie – 9th

  • Scratch Race – 14th
  • Tempo Race – 7th
  • Elimination Race – 9th
  • Points Race – 9th  (overall)

BMX Racing: Challenge 

Challenge – Full Results 

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