by Tommy Campbell
Hark, the Herald Angles sing, You have no festive snow, But here at the www.irishcyclingnews.com We have the Festive glow, We’ve ‘decked the halls with boughs of holly,’ And with sprigs of Mistletoe, Very soon with any luck, The lemonade will start to flow.
Christmas lights, shop windows bright, With many a Festive theme, Carols along O’Connell Street in Limerick, With Buskers along the street, So from all at www.irishcyclingnews.com We wish you all good cheer, Seasons Greetings for this Christmas ‘And a Very Prosperous New Year.
Of course a healthy one AND stay between the hedges?
Road Cycling in Ireland 2019
As planning is at an advanced stage for next year’s road season it is a good time to reflect on how cycling is run in general across the country. Whilst, not perfect there is a good structure in place that starts with the early season one day events. Here it is evident who has put in a good winter’s training and these events are the early battleground for bigger events to come. On any given weekend there is a race in each province and these normally cater for all categories to give everyone in the sport a chance to compete and race against riders of a similar ability.
Then we move on to the highly regarded Easter and May Bank holiday Stage Races where the first major honours of the season are given out whilst still a lot of riders are finding form for future events as they are fine tuning their training and building on whatever level of form they have. It also gives the club riders a chance to ride a stage race which is almost unique to Ireland and provides a stepping stone for the elite rider’s careers.
The season then returns to provincial action which is normally now peaking but it is from this point onwards that the cracks are appearing in the system and has the potential to bring down everything good we have in place. I am referring to three events here which are the RAS Tailteann, RAS na mBan and the SCOTT CYCLES Junior Tour of Ireland. As everyone knows these events are not on the financial footing that they should be on. They should in reality not only be backed by sponsors but have a guarantee in place from the governing body and the government as they provide the axis by which the whole year turns on. The governing body should also see these events as their trophy events sitting in the International calendar but also providing for the Irish riders which you would think is a perfect mix. Look at the platform it has provided since they have started for future International stars. These events are also the link between the general public and cycling as their names are synonymous with cycling. The events also have their own top race organisation crews in place and do not rely on Cycling Ireland to run the events for them. It is simply financially that they could fall down on.
If any of these events lose their place in the calendar, then it will be almost impossible to return. The RAS Tailteann looks like it could be the first casualty of the three marquee events but i’m sure there are serious negotiations going on with the people involved who have such a passion for the race and like everyone else would be devastated if there was to be no RAS in 2019 and beyond.
Hopefully there will be some good news soon and once back on the road these events might get the financial guarantees they deserve as they move forward into what will hopefully be the roaring twenties for cycling in Ireland.
2019 Cycling Ireland Cyclo-Cross Championships – REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
2019 Cycling Ireland Cyclo-Cross Championships, hosted by De Ronde Van Cork CC
Venue: Fota House and Gardens, Cork
Youth: Saturday 12 January 2019
Senior: Sunday 13 January 2019
Registration is now open
Only riders with a 2019 licence can enter.
Registration will close on Sunday Jan 6th
Stewart Hits Top Gear in Keirin Tokyo 2020 Qualifying
BELFAST’S Robyn Stewart now ranks 14th in the UCI Track World Cup Women’s Keirin rankings after an attacking display at Round 4 in London.
The 28-year-old, who took up cycling less than four years ago, posted her second-best Keirin score of this Track World Cup season in London’s Olympic Velodrome, in perhaps her hardest heats yet.
In the first round, Stewart faced Commonwealth Champion Stephanie Morton among her rivals, bravely attaching early then digging deep to finish fourth. That set up a repechage race that included Great Britain’s former U23 champion Katy Marchant, and ended up being by far the fastest of the four heats at 11.208s – Morton winning the Gold Medal in 11.297s.
“I attacked and went as hard as I could and the fastest rider won, so I can’t be disappointed with that,” said Stewart of the repechage. “Unfortunately didn’t make it through to the semi-finals, which I would have loved to have done but I’m happy with my performance in the repechage.”
Looking back, she added: “I got a bit carried away in the first round and tried to go too hard too soon, but it’s all learning and hopefully next time I’ll make it through to the semis.”
Marchant was one of two riders to make it into the Gold Medal Final from the repechage, further highlighting the strength of Stewart’s performance as she continues to try to become the second Irish woman to qualify for the Keirin at the Olympic in Tokyo 2020.
Stewart’s next opportunity is likely to be the final round of the Track World Cup in Hong Kong in January, with the UCI Track Cycling World Champions to follow at the end of February in Poland.
The former hockey player turned to cycling after marrying British track cycling sprint coach Kevin Stewart, and being inspired by his brother Mark’s rides at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Her first discipline is the Sprint, with Keirin coming later, after team mate Shannon McCurley switched to bunch racing following Rio 2016.
McCurley was also in action on the final day in London, riding her second Madison in years, and teaming up with Lydia Boylan in the two-person race for the first time. They finished 8th, landing Ireland’s best result in Women’s Madison of this season.
Ireland is now ranked 10th in the UCI Track World Cup Women’s Madison rankings. Marc Potts took on the Men’s Omnium, escaping several heavy crashes across the four hectic events to finish 12th in Ireland’s final ride of London 2018.