Alice Sharpe and Caoimhe O’Brien join new UK team

Former Irish road race champion says move to Das-Hutchinson-Brother UK will help her Olympic preparation

With more and more of Ireland’s cyclists racing on the professional circuit, at least two riders will be part of the new Das-Hutchinson-Brother UK team in 2024.

Alice Sharpe and Caoimhe O’Brien have been confirmed for the squad, which was formed after the previous Das-Handsling and Hutchinson-Brother UK teams merged over the winter.

The pooling of resources is intended to raise the level of the team and provide a more intensive European race programme.

Sharpe, Irish road race champion in 2019 and 2022, is a member of Cycling Ireland’s track cycling programme and is likely to secure Olympic qualification as part of the team pursuit squad.

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A busy schedule in 2024 mixing road and track means that flexibility in her competitive programme is required. For the Irish track riders, this may mean turning down slots with bigger teams in order to have greater control over their race programme during the season.

Lara Gillespie, another member of the Irish team pursuit squad, previously told The Irish Times that she was happy to stay with the UAE Development Team rather than stepping up to the bigger UAE Team ADQ WorldTour squad for that reason.

For Sharpe, racing with Das-Hutchinson-Brother UK will help her balance those twin goals of track and road.

“I just think that the @das_hutchinson_brother team is a nice fit for me this year,” she told Brother Cycling. “Last year, I found it so difficult, balancing the track with the demands of a WorldTour team. You just really need a team that understands that programme.

“Speaking to Simon [Howes, team principal] and everybody there, I really felt that they were able to accommodate me, and I was able to be upfront with the commitments I could make.

“You don’t want it to be all them making accommodations for you. Obviously, I hope to do a lot of races and have success with the team, but I’m just grateful that they understand the commitments I have on the track heading towards Paris.”

New team-mate O’Brien was runner up to Gillespie in the national road race championships in June, and is one of Irish cycling’s most promising young riders. At least one additional Irish rider is expected to be confirmed for the team in the near future.

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