Irish rider Maria Larkin crowned state champion in United States

Posted on: December 14th, 2018

Maria Larkin has scored an impressive win in the US, taking a state title and winning a round of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup (All photos with thanks to Gavin Gould)

 

Having won the UCI-ranked Belfast International earlier in the season, Irish rider Maria Larkin has taken another significant win.

Across the Atlantic, where she is based, she was best in the Illinois State Championships to be crowned the state’s elite cyclocross champion for the year.

The event was also the latest round of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup. Larkin won a close race-long battle with series leader Sydney Guagliardo (Team Unattached).

However, the Irish rider just shaded her rival at the finish to take the title. Rounding out the podium was up and coming cross star Jennifer Mettler.

A 16-year-old rider with the Northstar Junior Development team, it was Mettler who lit it up early.

She broke clear during the early portion of the race, commencing a battle just behind between Larkin and Guagliardo that would continue all the way to the finish.

The eventual gold and silver medal winners initially combined their efforts behind the early leader, ensuring she didn’t ride away.

 

 

“She had a four second gap on the first lap,” Irish international Larkin told stickybottle of Mettler’s effort.

“I was feeling kind of sluggish to start so I made Sydney close the gap and we kind of went from there.

“There wasn’t much between us for the next four laps. We exchanged the lead a few times and tried to outsmart each other.

“Sydney made a mistake in the large sand section on the last lap which gave me a gap. I tried to capitalize on her misfortune and pushed the pace up the only hill on the course.

“I had about five seconds at the top of the hill with a half a lap to go. But Sydney clawed her way back to me.

“She then attacked through the muddy pit area where she had better momentum all race. I hung on and had to close a gap again.

“We went into the final sand sections together and I made one final attack on the ridge by the lake and managed to get back in front.”

 

 

When Maria Larkin hit the finishing straight just ahead of her rival, the US 30-35 national champion, her finishing kick did the rest.

She won in the end by just two seconds. Unsurprisingly, Mettler faded a little in the closing stages, finished 3rd some 28 seconds back.

Larkin is currently riding for The Call Up p/b Bike Law. She is sponsored by Bike Law USA, Colnago Bikes, Abus Helmets, Parktool, UPB Cycling Club, Podiumwear Custom Apparel, Stages Cycling and Challenge Tires.

She plans to ride two Kerstperiode races in Belgium in early January as preparation for the Irish nationals.

“I feel good this year, but I know nationals has not been my best race over the years,” she said.

“Travel and the conditions being very challenging for me but I’m still focused on it as a season goal.”

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