New purpose-built cyclocross course on the way for Ireland

Posted on: February 12th, 2018

cyclocross course Abbottstown sports campus, Dublin

Cyclocross course for Abbottstown campus, Dublin: Cyclocross has been one of the biggest winners from the cycling boom. Numbers at races have rocketed. And now the development of the sport is about to get a vital boost with a new course (Photo: Sean Rowe)


New cyclocross course for Abbottstown campus, Dublin


Ireland is to get a new purpose-built and permanent cyclocross course at the National Sports Campus, Abbottstown, Dublin.

And when the national velodrome is also finally built, it too will be on the same campus. Both facilities will give cycling a major presence at the national sporting hub.

The ‘cross scene has been booming in recent years. Racing is now held in all for provinces and bigger national teams are being selected for major championships.

The recent World Championships in Valkenburg, Holland, saw the biggest ever Irish team at a Worlds.

National cyclocross coordinator Andy Layhe has confirmed to the UCI that the new course, specifically for cyclocross, is planned.

It will be an ideal training centre and will also include a skills section.

“I was approached by the National Sports Campus in Dublin to design and provide a permanent cyclocross course and facility there,” Layhe said.

“The National Sports Campus is headquarters to Ireland’s major sporting federations such as football, aquatics, equestrian and GAA.

“So for cyclocross to be involved there is a huge bonus. I have designed a UCI-standard course and skills facility where we can develop our riders in one location.

“We hope one day to run a top level UCI event. Construction of the cyclocross course should begin soon.”

Layhe was hopeful the facility would help further develop a scene already marked by very strong organic growth.

“Some 20 years ago, we had only a handful of riders doing cyclocross. And it was only used for training for the road, during winter months.

“We (now) have riders specialising in ‘cross. We also have four provincial leagues occurring each weekend through the season.

“On most weekends we can easily see up to 800 riders racing between youth and elite categories.”


Course can help development

He added while Ireland still had no cyclocross pros, riders like U23 international David Conroy were now opting for long racing stints on the European scene to improve.

“We have some way to go of course,” added Layhe. “But we are slowly building the foundation of a solid national development squad from riders between U14 and U23.

“Our primary focus is developing the skills of our young riders, to equip them in their technical ability. We have many promising U14 and U16 riders coming through our system.”