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Greta Lawless may be brand new to junior racing but she has already clocking up invaluable experience (Photo by Caroline Kerley, homepage photo by Toby Watson)

Greta Lawless may have suffered a nasty set-back in the junior race at the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Dublin on Sunday but the 16-year-old redoubled her efforts and fought on.

Competing for Team Ireland, she told stickybottle she had to pull herself out of a slump but was happy with her recovery, eventually riding to 21st place. While hoping for a little more, she said the whole day at the Sport Ireland Campus in Abbottstown was a great experience.

“I think I was more nervous because I wanted to do well in front of the home crowd,” she said. “It just helped so much with everyone cheering. The atmosphere was so good, that definitely helped.”

She added she was disappointed to crash at the first corner, sliding out and bending her handlebars. It was an unwanted extra challenge as she stepped up to World Cup action for the first time.

“My head went a bit… from being motivated to just dropping,” she said. “So, on the first lap, I really had to re-motivate myself. My dad was screaming at me ‘you have to keep going’. But then I picked off as many riders as I could, but it was tough. I’m happy I came back though, and didn’t just drop down completely.”

Lawless came down in a crash early and had to really push herself to get back in the game (Photo: Toby Watson)

Lawless found the course was very fast for one half, while the other was more muddy, with the sandpit also to negotiate and her bike clogging up, meaning changing at the pits was vital.

“It was amazing. You feel like everyone’s got your back, and everyone’s behind you wanting you to do well, so you want to do well for them,” she said of the supportive Irish crowds.

“When you’re younger, you’re looking at it (World Cup racing) on TV, and you’re, like, ‘I hope some day I’ll be there’. And then you’re at the start line, thinking ‘I am one of them now’. It’s a bigger level than racing at home. There’s just all the different countries and you feel like it’s the next step up.

“Sure, look, a crash and these things happen. There’s so many races to come, it’s only my first year junior. So, you know, it’s just experience and learning how to deal with stuff like that, so it’s probably beneficial.”

Lawless added she was quite keen to be in good form for later in the season, especially the National Cyclocross Championships. “We’ll see what happens, hopefully I can keep it up,” she said of her form, adding for next year she favoured MTB over road.

From Kilternan in south Dublin, and a 5th year student in St Conleths College, Dublin 4, Lawless said she was only able to race at a high level because of the support she had around her.

“My dad is fixing bikes late at night, and bringing me to races and stuff. And my mum is on the sideline cheering. And I have Robin (Seymour) as my coach, and the shop, Expert Cycles, keeping my bike in order. I really couldn’t do it without them to be honest.”

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