Cycling: Walsh smashes record en route to Irish double

Orla Walsh continued her hot streak since turning her focus to the high speed events as she smashed an Irish record en route to two titles at the national track championships last weekend at Sundrive.

She was the red-hot favourite going into last weekend’s 500m time trial and sprint duels having set multiple national records during her training.

In the sprint, while the conditions on Saturday were not favourable for setting fast times, there were to be no surprises and she won gold. Deirbhle Ivory beat off some stiff competition to reach the final and fin-ish second while Lara Gillespie would outsprint Nikki Taggert by two rounds to one to claim the bronze medal.

A day later, Walsh set the tone for some really fast riding, claiming the 500m crown, taking over a second off the previous best Irish mark, low-ering it to 36.22 seconds.

For Walsh, it continues her quick transition to build up her power for the shorter, more explosive races.

“I came from a background on the road, then endurance, but my favourite part if I got to the end of a road race, was always the sprint finish,” she told Pundit Arena after the race.

“I hated the three hours of torture to hopefully have a chance at the sprint. It’s like the end of a road race but all of the time!”

Former Orwell-Wheelers rider Lara Gillespie – a world junior track bronze medalist in February this year in Frankfurt – was among the medals, too, in her first senior championships.

Now riding in the Illi Bikes and UCD cycling team vest, she took silver in the pursuit behind specialist Kelly Murphy for her first medal which she soon backed up with a sprint bronze.

Gillespie then completed the set with a scratch race gold, topping off a fantastic weekend.

“Can I go to bed?” Gillespie reacted after her first two medals. “For the year that’s in it, my first in the elite category, I thought I would give it a go and its great to some races. It’s great to get back on track and go fast again!”

Sundrive Cycling Team’s Eoin Mullen was also on the top step of the podium, storming to the men’s Kilo time trial.

Mullen, who hails from the Aran Islands, powered around the track in a time of 1:07.05.

Harvey Barnes, who out sprinted Mullen on day one, had to settle for silver while Aaron Wade showed his turn of pace with a bronze medal.

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