Sunday last saw the start of the Irish domestic cycle racing season and Cuchulainn Cycling Club opened proceedings in Leinster with the annual Traders Cup.
The cup has a long history in cycling and was originally put on by the various shops of the town as a promotional venture. In fact many of the great cycling races of the world were originally staged as advertisements, for example the Tour de France was put on by the editor of the French car magazine LÀuto, Henri Desgrange, as a way to boost sales.
The 2013 race saw a new circuit with riders heading towards Dunleer, across the links road to Ardee, back into Dundalk to turn around at the motorway flyover and repeat the route.
As always the race was a handicapped affair with ladies and A4s getting proceedings underway with an advantage over the A3 riders and finally the A1/2 riders being the last to hit the road.
While up front the A4s settled into a good rhythm, the scratch bunch immediately started attacking each other in an effort to bridge the gap. Some 15km into the 75km race a group of six riders escaped the scratch bunch and quickly ate up the ground to catch the A3s.
At this stage the A3s were slowly catching on the bunch in front, however with the added impetus of the A1 riders catching them from behind the A4 bunch was caught not long after the turn around at the 50km mark.
The break away group from scratch kept up the intensity and once again escaped from the combined A4/A3 bunch and pressed on for the win. In the sprint for the flag UK rider, James King of Sportscover unleashed an incredibly powerful sprint to take the win ahead of Sword’s Ken Tobin in second and Jason O’Callaghan of UCD in third.
Success for Dundalk came with Colm Quinn claiming the first unplaced A1 prize, while Eve McCrystal claimed the first unplaced women. Gary Sheils, fresh from his velodrome designing duties, was first unplaced club man, while Annette Dawe was first unplaced club woman.
All in the race was a huge success with over 140 riders competing across the different categories. The club would like to give a big thank you to all the Marshalls, helpers and Gardaí on the day. Next weekend the club’s racing cyclists will head to Newry for the John Haldane Classic.