Cycling prodigy Lucy is set to take on the world

Lucy O'Donnell competing in the national cyclocross championships. Photo: Sean Rowe
Lucy O'Donnell competing in the national cyclocross championships. Photo: Sean Rowe

A 16-year-old County Limerick cyclist will represent Ireland in the World under-23 cyclocross championships in Denmark this Sunday.

Cappamore secondary school student Lucy O’Donnell had an exceptional year in 2018, winning many races at home and putting in super performances abroad.

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And it was this outstanding series of results that won her a place on the Irish team ahead of many older and more experienced competitors.

Cyclocross races usually consist of several laps of a three-kilometre course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount. Races are generally between 30 minutes and an hour long, with the distance varying depending on the ground conditions.

As a youth racer, Lucy was winner of several national championships but now she has graduated to the junior ranks and already tasted success by taking a bronze medal at the recent Elite Women’s Cyclocross National Championship.

Along with a series of strong performances in international racing over the winter in Belfast, Irvine and Yorkshire, Lucy competed in the UCI Cyclocross World Cup at Pont Chateau in France last week when she got to meet her hero and a legend of cycling, Marianne Vos.

The seven times World cyclocross champion  went on to win the race but the young Cappamore cyclist fought her way around the
course well down on the leaders but showed plenty of determination and gained some valuable experience.

Although not ranked among the main contenders in Sunday’s event, Lucy will travel to Denmark having earned her place on the Irish team in impressive style and marked herself out as a young woman with a very promising future in a highly competitive sport.

by Tom McCullough

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