‘Women in Sport Week’ was celebrated recently here in Ireland, as a time to acknowledge and celebrate the inspiring women and girls who lead and participate in sport across the country. Of course, we’re well aware of the many amazing women achieving great things in the saddle, with women’s cycling here in Ireland growing stronger and stronger – so there’s no better time to make some noise about those homegrown heroes!
Read on to learn more about some of the names taking the women’s cycling scene by storm, as well as the campaigns and initiatives which encourage equality in the sport.
The names to watch
As a professional cyclist with Belgian team Fenix-Deceuninck, Cotter has conquered a number of major races, proving that Irish women can excel at the highest level. It wasn’t until 2017 when Cotter joined Cycling Ireland’s talent transfer team, swapping the running shoes with a racing bike. An Elite Irish national road race title followed in 2021, a landmark victory that pointed towards major success in the future.
In January 2022, she was seriously injured in a collision with a car in Girona, resulting in a long and hard recovery. Imogen’s new monthly blog for We Love Cycling, ‘Going the Distance’ will offer a unique perspective on her own achievements, challenges and milestones in the sport, acting as a beacon of inspiration to women everywhere – so watch this space!
As a talented cyclist who hails from Dublin, Alice Sharpe has been making headlines with her impressive performances on the international stage. A member of the UCI Women’s Continental Team IBCT, Sharpe has represented Ireland in various UCI races, including the World Championships.
Eve McCrystal is a force to be reckoned with in the world of paracycling. Alongside her tandem partner, Katie-George Dunlevy, the duo has dominated the international paracycling scene, claiming multiple World and European titles. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games saw the pair secure two gold medals and one silver, a real career highlight. McCrystal’s unwavering determination showcases the power of teamwork and the heights that can be reached through perseverance and dedication.
Dublin native Lydia Boylan has an impressive list of accomplishments under her belt. A versatile cyclist, Boylan has excelled in track cycling, road racing, and mountain biking. With two Irish National Road Race Championship titles under her belt, Boylan is also a qualified engineer, and has juggled her career with cycling with finesse.
A young and promising talent emerging in Irish women’s cycling, Lara Gillespie has a strong background in both track and road cycling. She has demonstrated her potential with multiple national titles in junior and elite categories. In 2021, she claimed the bronze medal at the U23 European Track Championships in the Individual Pursuit event – and since she only turns 22 this year, it’s likely that the best is yet to come!
We chatted to Lara Gillespie on her career to date, how she juggles cycling with her studies and her goals for the future.
Equality in cycling
As the prominence of women in cycling grows, so too does the support from various campaigns and initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality in the sport. Sport Ireland recently launched HerMoves, a brand-new initiative designed to encourage women’s participation and promote equal opportunities.
Backed by Cycling Ireland, the initiative includes workshops, seminars, and training sessions, tailored to empower women and girls to take up physical activities with confidence. The program also aims to provide support for female coaches, administrators, and volunteers in the realm, fostering a more inclusive environment for all.
Interested in learning more? We put the spotlight on Women’s Cycling Ireland, an association that offers events and initiatives which aim to increase female participation in cycling.