Caoimhe O’Brien, Rider Profile

Caoimhe O’Brien is an U23 Irish rider on the new DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK team.

Caoimhe O’Brien has joined DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK after riding for Torelli – Cayman Islands – Scimitar since 2022. The year started with a training camp in Spain combined with the team’s first race of the year, the UCI 1.1 Classica de Almeria. With those tough Spanish kilometres under her belt, it was time to head home for another race. This was the Seamus Kennedy Memorial Race and was to be the team’s first win of the year; definitely worth some bragging points!

The Seamus Kennedy Memorial Race is the first women’s race of the season in Ireland. Caoimhe described it as “a nice opener before the Irish National road series starts in a few weeks time.” Although she hadn’t ridden this race before, she did have some knowledge of the circuit. This was down to having raced on a similar circuit last year; which she also won! Caoimhe thinks she may have “a bit of luck racing in Navan!” We could all do with that kind of luck.

Caoimhe O’Brien describes the action

“So it was quite a fast start to the race, with GP Oetingen on the following Wednesday, I wanted to have a hard race to get my body ready for Belgium. I attacked from the gun and pushed hard, a small group of maybe eight or so formed and everyone rode well. Coming to the first drag another increase in pace reduced the group to four of us.

Caoimhe O'Brien attacked from the gun. Photo courtesy of Sportsphoto Ireland
Caoimhe O’Brien attacked from the gun. Photo courtesy of Sportsphoto Ireland

We kept the pace high and the gap continued to extend, I’m really loving how quick my Handsling A1R0evo feels. They’re so adaptable in the varying terrain in the race. From wide fast roads to cobbles the bike felt great! On the final lap I attacked coming over a hill with about 20km to go and I got away solo. The run in to the finish was on a wide open road and I was caught by one rider with about 5km to go. We then sprinted it out for the win and I was delighted to get my hands in the air!

First win of 2024 for Caoimhe. Photo courtesy of Sportsphoto Ireland

Irish race scene

Talking about the Irish women’s race scene, Caoimhe was upbeat. Overall she has seen the women’s scene growing there. She said more race organisers are running women-only races, which is a “great incentive for more girls and women to race.” This is encouraging, she says for the large group of junior girls that are starting to come through. Caoimhe describes seeing this new generation as “really exciting“. It’s not just opportunities on the national scene either, a quick search on Procycling Stats shows ten Irish female riders racing for UCI teams.

Caoimhe see a bright future for Ireland’s women racers. Photo courtesy of Sportsphoto Ireland

GP Oetingen

After that morale boosting win, it was time to head to Belgium for the GP Oetingen. Caoimhe said she was pleased with how she rode what she described as a tough course. With two cobbled sections, lots of sharp bergs and many World Tour teams riding, I think we can agree that ranks as tough.

Describing the race, Caoimhe said she was “happy to stick with the front group until the final 3km, where I just didn’t have it going across the final cobbled section.” That final three kilometres saw the bunch ripped apart and Caoimhe and team-mate Lucy Lee came in 48th and 49th respectively. Post-race her feelings were positive, feeling she had performed “well in a very impressive field“.

Caoimhe O'brien started the year with a training camp in Spain. Photo courtesy of Bob MacGregor
Caoimhe O’brien started the year with a training camp in Spain. Photo courtesy of Bob MacGregor

What’s next?

Next race on her schedule is the CiCle Classic on the 17th March. This is what is described as a unique and challenging race. Riders will tackle a 105 kilometre course that is made up of rural lanes and off-road ‘sectors’. All this will be made harder as the UK has been suffering from weeks of heavy rain. The course will challenge not only the rider’s fitness and grit, but their bike handling skills as well. Sectors such as the Somerberg, which is not only off-road and muddy, but it’s a Berg! We’ll keep an eye on Caoimhe and the team and let you know what the season has in store.

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