Clarke storms to victory

The first road race of the FPM Accountants Summer Cycling League was held on Thursday last.

The first road race of the FPM Accountants Summer Cycling League was held on Thursday last.

The route was from the Ballymac out to Greenore and back. A grand total of 65 riders signed on and were split into six different groups, with almost 30 minutes separating the beginners to super scratch.

Super scratch set a blistering pace from the line and caught the 5th, 4th and 3rd groups. However further up the road groups one and two had come together and formed a solid pace line to hold off the large group that had formed behind them. As the leading group approached the line the riders started jostling for position in the sprint.

John Clarke made a bold move and decided to lead out the sprint. His moved worked to perfection as he powered his way to the chequered flag. John’s result was all the more impressive as this was his first ever road race. A relative newcomer to the sport he has made rapid progress with his dedicated training.

Behind him Alan Gray pipped Aaron McCann for second. Rounding out the top six were Brendan Neary, James Carroll and Gerard Neary. Suzy Mackin was first lady home, with Jolene Mellon in second.

Just over a minute later the second group Alan Bingham took the sprint here from Dermot Keelan and Aidan Cunningham in 3rd. Next Thursday night the action moves to the Ardee Road and finishes at the Fane Bridge.

Tour of North

Over the Easter Weekend the annual Tour of North four day stage race was held for the 57th time.

For the first time ever Cuchulainn CC had a team entered, comprised of Peter Tomany, Colm Quinn, Owen Martin, Liam Dolan, Gerry McCabe and the last spot taken by Bohermeen rider Chris Quinn, no stranger to Dundalk as he has taken the visitors prize in the league the last two years.

Stage One was a short 1km time trial at the hill at Stormont. Quinn put in a superb ride in an international field to take 3rd position. The next stage on Saturday was a 105km road race and all riders finished safely in the bunch.

Onto Easter Sunday, Stage Three was a very tough 130km affair with no fewer than nine categorised climbs in and around Limavady in County Derry. Disaster struck early on for the team when Peter Tomany came off while descending in the rain. However Peter showed great courage to dust himself off and carry on.

By the finish line the opening gathering of 100 riders was whittled down to a main bunch of only 40 by the end, which contained all the Cuchulainn riders. The race finishes on Monday with a 120km stage from Ballymena to Carrickfergus.