Team Ireland World Track Championship Round-Up

ByEmma Porter |

Ireland Narrowly Miss Out in Women’s Team Pursuit Qualifying at World Track Championship

Ireland narrowly missed out on qualification for the first round of the Women’s Team Pursuit on Wednesday October 12th, after recording a strong time of 4.19.934 at the Track World Championships in Paris.

The team of Emily Kay, Lara Gillespie, Alice Sharpe and Kelly Murphy enjoyed a fast start and were placed third in the live rankings in the 1000m and 2000m splits.

However, in a final push, Ireland finished fifth place in the provisional rankings with four teams yet to race – with the top eight finishers qualifying for the first round on Thursday, October 13th.  It came down to the final heat as Ireland finished just 0.815 seconds behind final qualifier the USA and 9th overall.

Despite missing out on qualification, the time came less than 0.2 seconds from breaking the Irish National Record set at the Nations Cup in Glasgow in April this year.

Speaking after the event, Emily Kay said, “I think we’re both pleased and disappointed. We thought we were capable of being in the top eight, we would have liked to have qualified and got a second ride but that’s the fastest we’ve ever qualified. We’ve taken a step forward so it’s bittersweet.

“Olympic qualifying is the top ten now so we’re within that and we definitely know there’s things we can change to take that step forward. We’re amongst it (the top ten in the world) and there’s a few on front of us that aren’t too far away, we can change some things and hopefully take more steps forward.” 


Lara Gillespie Hopes to Build on Performance after 17th Place Finish in Women’s Scratch Race at Track World Championships

Lara Gillepsie has finished 17th in the 10km Women’s Scratch Race at the Track World Championships in Paris later that evening. The Team Ireland rider was amongst the leading riders with less than ten laps to go and finished in the bunch after a strong ride.

After a cagey start, the pace kicked into gear in the final ten laps as riders battled for positions heading into the final laps as several riders attempted attacks.  The sprint was won by Martina Fidanza of Italy in an impressive finish.

Gillespie said, “It was going good until the last five laps, I was in a good position, and I got into a good place. But I got into a pinch point where I had to backpedal to get back around. I probably should have tried to squeeze into that gap but it was quite dangerous.

“I did my best and I put out really good power. I gave it everything and I’m looking forward to building on this and getting more race experience at this level. I’m happy I got this opportunity.” 

Gillepsie was in action earlier in the day for the Women’s Team Pursuit Qualifying as Ireland finished in 9th place.


Orla Walsh Reaches 1/16 Finals of Sprint as Alice Sharpe Takes 11th in Elimination Race at Track World Championships

Ireland’s World Championships continued on Thursday as Orla Walsh competed in the Women’s Sprint and Alice Sharpe contested the Women’s Elimination Race in Paris.

Walsh successfully reached the 1/16 Finals with a strong qualifying time – less than 0.2 seconds off the national record she set at the European Championships in August.

Alice Sharpe was in action in the evening session as she lined out in the Women’s Elimination Race – finishing 11th in a field of 24 riders.

Walsh began her World Championships with an encouraging time of 11.079s in the heats early in the afternoon and had already guaranteed progression over half the field yet to race.

She faced Great Britain’s Sophie Capewell – who qualified with a time of 10.492s – in the 1/16 Finals, but narrowly missed out in the sprint by 0.126s.

Walsh said, “I’m happy enough with how I performed, the 11.079s is not far off my PB time anyway. It’s been quite a long season and I’ve been improving with each race so there comes a point where you need to take a step back and train.” 

In the evening session, Sharpe started well a competitive field of 24 riders, comfortably avoiding elimination in the opening laps.

But as the field began to whittle down and the competition to avoid elimination intensified, a crash at the rear of the group ruled out a number of riders.

Sharpe avoided the crash but later in the race found herself boxed in late in a lap and was narrowly eliminated in 11th place.

Sharpe said, “I’m kind of disappointed with the result, I would’ve liked to have been a bit further up there, but I can take confidence from it going into the Madison on Saturday (with Mia Griffin). My legs felt good, but my positioning wasn’t so great in the finish and I got caught out.

“It’s annoying that it was my awareness rather than my legs but at the same time I can take that confidence going into the Madison. We had a good race back in Canada a few months ago so hopefully we can replicate a performance like that again. We’re both in a good place and motivated so we’re excited to see what we can do.” 


12th Place for Emily Kay in Women’s Omnium at Track World Championships

Emily Kay believes her 12th place finish in the Women’ Omnium on Friday at the Track World Championships can be a ‘stepping stone in the right direction’.   The Irish rider took on a world class field with her 4th place finish in the Tempo Race the highlight of day three in Paris.

Kay competed in four races across the third day of competition – a Scratch Race, Tempo Race, Elimination Race and Points Race. She finished 17th in the Scratch Race to start her day as she looked to gain some points in the Tempo Race later in the afternoon.

Kay managed to join a select group of five riders that distanced the main bunch after less than ten laps, winning two sprints as the group lapped the rest to gain 20 points each and finish with 22 points.

Heading into the Elimination Race, Kay sat on 42 points and 8th place in the standings – 30 points from the early leader. She impressed again with a 10th place showing in the Elimination Race to leave her in 9th in the standings heading into the deciding Points Race.

Kay rode well in a high-paced Points Race but was unable to get into a break from the bunch and earn lap points and finished 12th overall.

She said, “The day had some good bits and some bad bits. I had a frustrating Scratch (race), I nearly got taken out of it in the last lap. I took a lap on the Tempo, 10th in the Elimination and then just a really hot Points Race.

“I think I’m happy (with where I am). Off the back of the Olympics last year, I had a bit of a difficult time so I’m still finding back up. It’s a good marker; I don’t think that I’m too far off being competitive so it’s a stepping stone in the right direction.” 

Ireland Conclude Track World Championships With Busy Final Day in Paris

Ireland concluded their Track World Championships on Saturday in a busy day of racing as Kelly Murphy broke the Women’s Individual Pursuit National Record.

Murphy finished 7th in the Individual Pursuit Qualifying while Orla Walsh raced in the Women’s 500m TT Qualifying and the duo of Mia Griffin and Alice contested the Women’s Madison Final.

Walsh was up first in the Women’s 500m TT Qualifying and set a time of 34.765 seconds, finishing in 21st place but missing out on qualification for the final.

Kelly Murphy was next on track as she contested the Women’s Individual Pursuit Qualifications aiming to improve on her 6th place finish at the European Championships in August.

And Murphy set a new National Record of 3.25.424 as she finished 7th in a strong field – putting almost a full second into her own previous record of 3.26.362 set at the European Championships this year.

Speaking after the event, Murphy said, “I’m satisfied with that ride. When I started out track racing 3.25 was a really competitive time and I knew that I had the numbers on the road to compete with that. Now the game has changed, and everyone is getting faster and faster.

“It’s a solid time and a solid outing on the day that everyone wants to do a good time, so I’m satisfied to be competitive now and to start chipping away at other things.

“I’m delighted (with the 7th place), because you can use the Team Pursuit as a proxy before you get up to the Individual Pursuit. There were some fast girls there today so just to be in the top half I thought I’d be satisfied; I don’t think I can ask for more than 7th so that’s a solid outing.”

In an intense Women’s Madison Final, Alice Sharpe and Mia Griffin battled to a 13th place finish.

Griffin was involved in a small crash just over ten laps after the start as Ireland fought to hang on to the leading group for much of the race.

Alice Sharpe said, “It was a pretty ferocious pace, and it wasn’t helped by when I think the lights broke and they neutralized the race. Everyone was still going full gas and during that time Mia got caught up in a crash, so we were just on the back-foot after that – not an ideal start to the race. 

“The Madison always leaves you feeling a bit like that (unfinished business). It’s one of those races that even if you do well in it there’s always areas to improve in. We definitely are hungry to improve on this performance.” 

Mia Griffin said, “We spent a lot of the race just chasing and trying to get back in contention and up there. It was a really brutal race but we gave it everything that we had. We have a lot to do, learn and experience to gain in this event. I think by doing a lot of smaller events and building up that we can really improve.” 

Saturday’s action is Ireland’s last at this year’s World Championships after four days of competition at the Saint-Quentine-en-Yvelines velodrome as the focus now switches to 2023 and upcoming qualifying opportunities for the Paris Olympic Games.



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