Lara Gillespie takes biggest road race success of career with Italian win

The 23-year-old from Enniskerry wins five-day stage race by three minutes from team-mate Federica Venturelli

Lara Gillespie sealed the biggest road racing success of her career on Tuesday, taking a dominant overall victory in the Giro Mediterraneo Rosa.

The Enniskerry rider previously won European titles on the track and will be focusing on the velodrome events in the Olympic Games, but she showed her versatility over the five days of the Italian stage race. Second on day one, she pulled off a staggering 70 kilometre solo stage win the following day to seize the race lead, then defended the jersey in style on her birthday with a sprint win on stage three.

The final two days of racing featured summit finishes, with Gillespie putting in strong climbing performances on the uphills. She was second behind her UAE Development team-mate Federica Venturelli on Monday and while she came under sustained attack on Tuesday’s concluding stage, she rode solidly to finish 21 seconds behind Venturelli and seal the overall win.

The 23-year-old finished three minutes and one second ahead of her team-mate in the final general classification, and was also second overall in the points competition.


Gillespie, Kelly Murphy, Mia Griffin and Alice Sharpe recently received official confirmation that they have qualified for Paris 2024 due to strong performances in the team pursuit.

Finishing second in the Hong Kong Nations Cup and ninth in the Olympic rankings secures them a place in that event, as well as in the madison and omnium.

Gillespie has deliberately stayed with the UAE Development Team in order to further her Olympic track goals, rather than step up to the WorldTour. However her performance in Italy suggests it is only matter of time before she gets a contract at that top level of the sport.

Meanwhile, another promising young rider performed strongly in recent days, with Patrick Casey leading the Eroica Juniores from the opening day and into the fourth and final stage of the UCI Nations Cup event. Casey helped his Team Grenke-Auto Eder squad to victory in the opening team time trial and ultimately finished third overall. He was just six seconds off the race winner.

“The last stage was very difficult and I was constantly attacked by other riders,” the 18-year-old said. “That made it nearly impossible to win. However, I would say this is the biggest result of my career and hopefully something I can build on going forward. Overall, I’m happy with third place.”

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling