by Tommy Campbell
Drogheda Wheelers under the direction of Gerard Campbell certainly have gone centre stage this weekend. From youth to seniors, they hold sway with the backing of top officials in the province of Leinster and beyond. They come out of the blocks on Saturday morning and have no let up ‘til Sunday afternoon.
In recent weeks I have spoken to him on occasion. “Yes, it is a big undertaking, but to have all ages in competition over the weekend is real plus. Thankfully, I have a great crew behind the operation. All I need is the weather and we’ll be away in a hack. (details for the weekend listed in the preview as furnished to www.irishcyclingnews.com
Castlebar Gp is on this Sunday see poster.
The second round of the Classic League takes place in Blarney on Sunday. With the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan done and dusted. It will be interesting to see if the likes of Cathal Moynihan of (Manor West Tralee), Sean Lacey (Viner/Caremark/Pactimo) John Hodge (Panduit Carrick Wheelers), James Davenport & Philip. Lavery, (Strata3-Velorevolution Cycling Team).
Sadly the cancellations continue, the event listed in the cycling Ireland yearbook, Seven Springs CC Grand Prix. for this Sunday has gone by the wayside. I can well understand the cancellation for the year of the Kilmessan Grand Prix and of course the Nenagh promotions
BUT the good news for the weekend ahead is that CURROW CC are in FULL THROTTLE for their event in Currow, on the outskirts of Castleisland, Co. Kerry. It is time for us all to get the passports stamped for the KINGDOM. All categories are catered for.
Wheelers set for mammoth weekend of racing!
Race Director Gerard Campbell (Left) paid tribute to the late Gaybo Howard (Centre) during his address at the launch of Rás na nÓg 2018.
The majority of local cyclists flocked all over the country last weekend in preparation for the Drogheda Wheelers promoted weekend of racing this coming Saturday and Sunday, April 14th and 15th. The racing kicked off in the Killinchy GP in County Down on Saturday where Drogheda Wheelers man Eoin Ferriter managed a top ten result, making him a dark horse for a home result next weekend, while the regions youth cyclists tested their ability amongst Irelands best ahead of the largest youth stage race in the country in Bellewstown next weekend.
Sunday, amidst the torturous weather, many local riders took part in the Cycleways Cup promoted by Navan RC which was postponed due to Storm Emma earlier in the year. This event, one of the longest in the season, lasted 157km, after which Stamullen man Cian Delaney continued his good strong form and sprinted to a top ten finish, just ahead of local man Javan Nulty in 11th and Wheelers star Niall Craven rounded out the top 15! In the A3 event, Dunleer schoolboy Ben McCourt Lenehen was mixing it at the front of the bunch throughout the race and is showing himself as one to watch for the coming weeks.
This coming weekend will see Drogheda Wheelers promote their annual huge weekend of racing, catering for categories and abilities across the jam-packed weekend! The clubs’ efforts commence on Saturday morning for the 11th edition of Rás na nÓg which has grown into Irelands largest youth stage race, where 140 of Irelands top cyclists from each corner of the country set off for Bellewstown for a 2-day, 3-stage event! Due to recent success of the race in the last few years, including a shortlisting for Cycling Irelands ‘Event of the year’, it was no surprise to Race Director Gerard Campbell when he received several queries of international interest and is looking forward to welcoming numerous British teams to the event. The racing kicks off at 10am with the cyclists ageing from 11 to 16 tackling a ‘criterium race’ with laps of a 1.8km circuit around Bellewstown Race Course. Saturday evening faces the riders with laps of a 7.5km route, taking in some of the hardest climbs of the North East before finishing off their efforts with a fast road race on Sunday with competitors sprinting for a result on the Duleek-Julianstown main road. Race Organiser Campbell, who is also secretary of the Wheelers, was quick to offer his thanks to all those who will give up their time over the weekend to assist in the event and noted ‘Without the marshals, registration crew, route markers and all the other volunteers, this event simply couldn’t go ahead’. He also thanked the race sponsor Skoda Ireland and club sponsors Jons Civil Engineering, SCME and Dimplex for all their support to the event. Club Chairman, Andrew Watters echoed Campbells words, adding that he couldn’t wait to see who’ll take away the champion cups this year!
Just in case promoting this prestigious event wasn’t enough for Campbell and his crew, the club are also hosting two separate senior races. The Peter Bidwell Memorial will take place on Saturday evening, which remembers the clubs’ late chairman who passed away in 2008 and it is always a very competitive event as Irelands top racers fight to take home the prestigious plaque. Javan Nulty will surely try to make it two in a row, after taking home top honours in Donore last year. Sunday will see the promotion of the Coombes Connor Memorial remembering two Donore natives Paddy Coombes and Tommy Connor and sees the racers set off from Bellewstown Race Course before finishing in the same spot as the youth event, after 126km.
Gerard Campbell ended his address at the race launch by wishing each competitor the best of luck and mentioned that although the race has winners and losers, its main aim is to ‘keep the youth in the sport!’ – the idea the race was established upon by the late Bidwell and Campbell in 2007.
More information on the events can be found on Facebook and Twitter by searching Rás na nÓg or by visiting Droghedawheelers.ie!
by Gearóíd Campbell.
BLARNEY plays host this Sunday to Round 2 of the Cycling Ireland National Road Series with all eyes on local rider Eoin O’Connell in the Men’s Donal Crowley Memorial Road Race.
**** Change in Start Time****
Please note the Change in Start time of the Race.
Sign on will now be from 10.30am to 12pm
With Racing beginning @ 12.30pm
The 31-year-old Blarney native, who rides this year for host club Blarney CC, finished a respectable 19th on General Classification in Easter’s international stage race, Kerry Group Ras Mumhan, and placed second in the Donal Crowley last season, and in 2014.
He said: “It’s nice to be on the circuit that all of the local riders know so well. We used to do a club league race on that circuit midweek up until last year, so we know every inch of the road – it’s quite challenging.”
Of his Ras Mumhan performance, a prep run for the Blarney CC team being aimed at this year’s Ras Tailteann – Ireland’s only UCI-ranked stage race, O’Connell added: “I was actually a little bit disappointed. In a large bunch it’s hard to always pay attention and though I felt I had the power, I fell asleep a few times.
“The weather did not help. It was definitely tough on the Sunday stage, out around Waterville. To give you an example, I started with gloves on, then it got warm and I took them off, then it started lashing rain and the temperature dived, and I couldn’t get them back on.
“I had to put my hands in my mouth to get the feeling back to change the gears.”
O’Connell got in the winning breakaway at last month’s Cycling Ireland National Road Series Round 1 at the Des Hanlon Memorial Road Race, but was distanced on the last lap. He managed to finish in the top 20 nevertheless and lines up on Sunday on the NRS2018 Men’s leaderboard, which got a boost last weekend as fourth-placed James Davenport (Strata3 VeloRevolution) landed the Cycleways Cup in Navan
O’Connell said: “The Strata3 VeloRevolution guys are very strong right now. Sean Lacey (Team Viner Caremark Pactimo) is always very good on these courses too, and the two guys from Tralee Manor West iBike could go close – Cormac Daley and Cathal Moynihan (2016 winner) – Cormac especially; he’s a young guy really coming up.”
Poignantly, Michael Crowley, nephew of the late Donal Crowley, will also ride. He won the event in 2013, and two stages of the Kanturk 3 Day last year, but has found form slipping in 2018.
He said: “I was at the Des Hanlon, but got caught in the crash after 5km, and I was at Ras Mumhan, but it wasn’t my strongest. I was in college for the last few years, and this year started working full time. I have been trying to get the balance right, but I don’t think I’ve been able to do that and it’s reflected in my form, unfortunately.”
Of his famed uncle, and father Patsy, he added: “Donal and my father cycled for Blarney and they also cycled for Crowley Cycles. They were both involved in the underage in Blarney and between the two of them they produced a lot of champions under age, Junior Tour winners, and riders that went on to represent Ireland.”
The Donal Crowley Memorial Road Race begins at 12.30pm on Sunday in Blarney Village, the Men’s Cycling Ireland National Road Series field racing out of the town and on to a hilly 27.5km circuit, covering that lap five times, before returning to Blarney to finish their 154km race. Former winners include Eddie Dunbar, the 21-year-old now a professional with Aqua Blue Sport.
The Women’s Cycling Ireland National Road Series Race will start shortly after the Men’s and follow the same route, racing the lap section twice for a 72km test. Former winners include 2014 National Champion Fiona Meade.
This May Bank Holiday weekend see’s the return of the Tour of Ulster under new sponsorship from Victus Renewable Energy. The 2018 Victus Tour of Ulster is due to welcome some of Ireland’s finest cyclists into the town of Banbridge in Co. Down to relive their ‘fight for pink’, with the race leader being awarded with the covet Pink Jersey.
The Victus Tour of Ulster is one of Ireland’s longest established races. Established in 1957, the race is attracting elite riders from across Ireland & the UK.
Neil O’Brien, chairman of the host company, Victus Renewable Energy said he is delighted to be involved with the ‘Victus Tour of Ulster’.
“We are delighted to take this opportunity to show our commitment to the people of Northern Ireland and to begin a long-term relationship with Ireland’s most famous cycling race.”
Event Organiser Garry Nugent said he is delighted to welcome on board Victus Renewable Energy, the new title sponsor of this year’s Victus Tour of Ulster.
“It is great to secure sponsorship from such a committed company. I am also delighted to base the Victus Tour of Ulster in the town of Banbridge for this year’s event. Banbridge and the surrounding area has a rich history in cycling and has produced numerous cyclists of the highest quality over the years. This year’s course is extremely difficult and will challenge any fitting winner. I have both trained and raced on a lot of the roads used in this year’s race and know first hand how tough and deceiving they can be.
BIKE FEST – SAVE THE DATE 17th JUNE