Ireland’s cyclists are getting close to the hay days of the late 80s when Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche dominated professional cycling.
At present Ireland’s professional cyclists are riding high with Dan Martin winning the world’s oldest bike race, Liege-Basrogne-Liege, Martyn Irvine winning a world track title and meanwhile in the US, Donegal’s Philip Degnian won the recent professional Tour of Gila.
All of these cyclists, along with Nichloas Roche, will be lining up in Carlingford come June 23 for the National Cycling Championships. They will be joined by Ireland’s other European based professionals and Ireland’s best domestic riders.
The route got a test on Thursday last when it hosted the Louth Road Race Championships.
The event which is open to any cyclist resident in the county or riding for a Louth registered club, was run over the same 13km lap.
The first winner on the course and Louth Road Race Champion for 2013, was Bryan McCrystal. Bryan, who is riding the An Post Rás starting this Sunday, is sure to feature in the national championships come June.
The race saw over 40 riders line up and the watching crowd was greeted to action from the get go.
On the first of the four laps a group got away and despite working well together never got a gap of more than 30 seconds.
Midway through the second lap the escapes were pulled back. Coming out of the village on the third lap, McCrystal made his winning move.
Ray O`Shaughnessey and Gary Gorman bridged the gap up to McCrystal, but the effort took a lot out of Gorman who soon dropped back to the chasing bunch. McCrystal edged out Ray in the sprint, while Gorman recovered from his previous efforts to take the bunch sprint for bronze just ahead of Karl Dolan.
Reaction to the circuit was great, from the tight fast corners of the village, with the climb and the open exposed coastal section, all making for great racing. The Louth Championships were run over four laps, while the elites will have 13 to do come June.