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Conor Murphy competed in a race while in Switzerland, turning on the power to take victory (Photo: Toby Watson)

Two of the most exciting cyclocross riders for Ireland now coming up through the ranks, Greta Lawless and Conor Murphy, secured places with the UCI cyclocross development set-up and have ridden strongly in race action in Switzerland.

Indeed Murphy (Rostrevor MTB) claimed victory in the men’s race, while Lawless (Team WORC) also put up a very strong ride for 4th in the women’s event; both clearly finishing off their first involvement with the UCI set-up in fine style.

The two Irish 16-year-olds, who are in their first weeks as junior riders in the new cyclocross season, were among 21 riders from nine countries who gathered at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, from October 9th to 15th for the UCI’s annual cyclocross development camp.

Lawless and Murphy, who were outstanding U16s over the last two seasons, were put forward for the camp by the Cycling Ireland Off-Road Commission. Paul Birchall, who works within the commission to promote off-road racing in Ireland, also attended the camp as a coach.

Greta Lawless of Team Ireland competes in the girls cross country in July at the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival at Bike Park Pohorje in Maribor, Slovenia. (Photo: Tyler Miller-Sportsfile)

The riders selected were aged 16 to 21 years and from Afghanistan, Austria, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Luxemburg, Serbia and Switzerland.

The riders benefited from the guidance of British coach, Ed Collins, and Italian champion, Eva Lechner, who are both members of the UCI Cyclocross Commission. Lechner’s international racing experience was also put to good use in the evening theory sessions, during which athletes learned how to plan races, how to prepare, what to do on race days and how to analyse races.

The riders rounded off the camp by racing Omnium Romand de Cyclocross, an event on Swiss Cycling’s national calendar and which ended in strong results for the Irish duo.

Lawless has started her new cyclocross season at home very strongly, winning the elite women’s race at ‘Round 3’ of the National Cyclocross Series in Westport last weekend, her latest elite win. She was also selected for the European Youth Olympics earlier this year – riding road and MTB – and came from the back of the grid in the MTB race to place 10th.

Murphy was also selected for the European Youth Olympics and showed his ability by taking silver in the TT; the first male Irish rider to take a medal at those Youth Olympics. As well as repeated successes as an U16 on home roads, Murphy also won a round of the British Cyclocross National Trophy Series last December.

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