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Clare cyclist picked for Ireland in elite French race

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A CLARE cyclist takes her place in a strong Irish team competing in a prestigious French road race over the next two days.
Imogen Cotter from Ruan will be making her debut for Ireland at the Kreiz Breizh Elites Dames in Brittany.
The Irish team comprises Cotter, Alice Sharpe, Mia Griffin, Megan Armitage, Lucy O’Donnell and Caoimhe O’Brien.
Cotter had been picked to represent Ireland at the race last year, but was ruled out by injury.
It was one of the downs alongside some ups in a rollercoaster year for the 28-year-old.
There was a positive test for Covid-19, an unwelcome bit of news Cotter received on New Year’s Day.
“I came back in the middle of December (2020), followed all the guidelines, all the guidance, did everything I was supposed to do. But it still got into the house. I wouldn’t say it was eventful. It was probably the most extremely uneventful Christmas I ever had. It was just me sitting in my room!”, she recalled.
Cotter detailed her Covid experience in a lengthy article on her website. She said that despite suffering some days of tiredness and weakness, she was spared the worst of the symptoms, a fact for which she is grateful for.
However, there was a period of uncertainty and worry prompted by what effect the disease could have on her dream of a cycling career.
“When I started thinking about it at first, I was really, really concerned. You have all these thoughts going through your head that my whole season could be ruined. I was thinking that months and months of work are gone. My job is to build my fitness and try to hit these markers. And when I got the positive test, it was like this feeling of panic that I’m going to lose everything that I spent months and months building up.
“But I have to say that I was actually really, really lucky. I didn’t get a very bad dose of it and I have recovered well and there hasn’t been any side-effects.”
Cotter’s climb through cycling’s ranks has been as swift as it has been impressive. A childhood love of running and swimming led to a brief period as a triathlete.
She returned to running, winning national titles on track and cross country. Cotter has recalled feeling a bit “lost” when she left university.
In 2017, aged 24, she joined Cycling Ireland’s new Talent Transfer program. Missing out on selection for the 2018 European Track Championships was in Cotter’s words a “crossroads” moment.
Cotter moved to Belgium to pursue a pro-cycling contract in 2019 – the same year she finished second in the Irish National Championships.
The last few years have seemed like a blur but Cotter is happy she is on the right track.
“I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. I think I surprised myself at how quickly I progressed. I feel I’m getting better and I’m learning all the time. I do feel it is going in the right direction,” Cotter said.

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