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The Irish team has a fantastic chance of wrapping up Olympic qualification in coming days, which would really aid their preparation plans for Paris

The Irish elite national team will be in action again in Hong Kong this weekend and can secure their Olympic places much earlier than expected if everything goes well for them.

The five-rider team will get their efforts underway at the UCI Nations Cup Hong Kong on Friday, with a full weekend of racing to follow. They have undertaken a training camp of over a month in Australia since the last round of the Nations Cup in Adelaide.

Irish team coach, Dan Henchy, said the Queensland cycling community was instrumental in making their Australia stint such a success and now the riders were ready to go again as the last push for Paris qualification begins.

“We’re excited to get on the track in Hong Kong for the second round of the UCI Track Nations Cup,” said national track coach Henchy. “Since the first round in Adelaide, the team have been working hard in a Brisbane training camp in preparation for this week.

“It’s been brilliant to have the team together for a consistent block of training and we’re very grateful for the help of the Queensland cycling community for making the trip such a success.

“Our main aim for the competition is to secure enough points with the Team Pursuit to confirm our Games qualification but we’re looking for strong performances in all events in line with our overall aim of fielding a genuinely competitive team at the Paris Olympics in the summer.”

Lara Gillespie, Mia Griffin, Alice Sharpe and Kelly Murphy will form team pursuit line-up on Friday, while Erin Creighton will take to the line in the elimination race.

On Saturday, Griffin and Sharpe will look to continue their steady progress as a madison partnership while Lara Gillespie will hope to continue her fine form in the women’s omnium event on the final day on Sunday.

The Irish team pursuit line-up needs to be in the top 10 in the world rankings to qualify for that event – and secure berths in other endurance events – in Paris this summer. They are currently ranked 9th, but have a 300-point advantage on Japan in 10th and 340 in China in 11th place.

Team Ireland in Hong Kong | Irish times

Friday, March 15th

  • Lara Gillespie, Mia Griffin, Alice Sharpe, Kelly Murphy – Women’s Team Pursuit Qualifying – 2am
    Erin Creighton – Women’s Elimination Race Qualifying – 6:31am
  • Women’s Team Pursuit First Round* – 7:15am
  • Erin Creighton – Women’s Elimination Race Final* – 12:50pm

Saturday, March 16th

  • Mia Griffin & Alice Sharpe – Women’s Madison Qualifying – 4:55am
  • Mia Griffin & Alice Sharpe – Women’s Madison Final* – 11am

Sunday, March 17th

  • Lara Gillespie – Women’s Omnium Qualifying – 1:47am
  • Women’s Omnium Scratch Race – 8am
  • Women’s All Time Race – 8:40am
  • Women’s Omnium Elimination Race – 10:06am
  • Women’s Omnium Points Race – 11:05am

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