Lara Gillespie rockets to another medal for Ireland at Euro Champs

Posted on: July 11th, 2019
Lara Gillespie has taken another medal for Ireland at the European Championships, her second of the meeting in Gent, Belgium

Fresh from her silver medal in the scratch race on the opening day of the European Track Championships on Tuesday, Lara Gillespie has now taken another medal.

The Irish teenager, who won the points race at these Europeans last year, was second fastest in qualifying in the junior individual pursuit earlier today.

And that means Gillespie goes into a ride-off this evening – at 7pm – to see if she will win the silver or gold medal.

She is guaranteed the silver and if she can go faster than British rider Elynor Backstedt this evening she would take the gold.

After all of the riders in the individual pursuit do a TT over the distance – 2km in the case of junior women – at major championships the four fastest in that qualifying go through to the next round.

The two riders who are quickest and second quickest in qualifying ride off against each other on the track to decide who takes gold and silver.

And the next two riders, who finish 3rd and 4th in qualifying, ride off against each other to see who takes the bronze medal.

Earlier today at the U23 and junior European Track Championships in Gent, Belgium, Backstedt was fastest in junior pursuit qualifying with a time of 2:19.553.

That was almost 2.5 seconds faster than Lara Gillespie, who clocked a time of 2:22.037 for the 2km pursuit.

Two Italian riders – Camilla Alessio and Sofia Collinelli – were 3rd and 4tth in qualifying.

Alessio was 1.3 seconds slower than Gillespie and Collinelli was just over three seconds slower.

As well as winning the points race at the Europeans last year, Gillespie also won silver in the individual pursuit.

She would dearly love to upgrade her pursuit medal to gold, though beating Backstedt will be hard as she is one of the brightest junior prospects in British cycling at present.

Irish progress at Europeans

On Tuesday at the Europeans Mia Griffin was 8th in the U23 women’s pursuit and Xeno Young was 7th in the U23 men’s pursuit.

In the U23 elimination race Autumn Collins was 11th. Yesterday JB Murphy was 4th in the scratch race and Autumn Collins was 11th in the female scratch race.

Caoimhe O’Brien and Louis Bilyard were 12th and 7th in the junior elimination races.

Today, as well as Gillespie securing at least silver in the pursuit, Aaron Wade was 13th in the men’s junior pursuit.