The first road race of the FPM Accountants Summer Cycling League kicked off on Thursday last with almost 100 riders signing on for the 22 mile event.
The route was from the Ballymac out to Greenore and back, which is a deceptively tough course. In total six groups lined up with 14 minutes separating all the riders.
Group two were the big winners on the night, catching group one not far after the turn around on the road back to Dundalk and also managing to hold off all the groups behind.
The riding behind saw groups five and six come together relatively early on and both sets of riders working well together to haul back the deficit on group four. Finally almost on the line the third group was caught.
Up front the sprint for the finish line saw Jim Loughran take the win. Jim was off in the first group and when the second group bridged up to them he reserved his energy to win the sprint, narrowly ahead of Kevin Black.
3rd spot home was Mark Duffy, followed by Gary Morton in 4th and Terry McEneaney in 5th. First women home was Suzy Mackin, who lead Annette Dawe and is fast improving. Finally behind the leading group Paul McGee was in commanding form seeing off all other sprinters to take the scratch prize.
So it will be Jim Loughran in the first virtual yellow jersey as the league heads into the next round on Thursday April 26 on the Ardee Road to Dorian’s circuit. This route features a number of stiff hills on the way out to Ardee before a flat and fast finish home, with the line awaiting the riders on the old Dublin road.
On the open racing front club newcomer Michael Barry continues to show good early season form, taking a 6th place in the A race over the weekend in Drogheda.
The next big stepping stone for the club’s elite team of Barry, Myles McCorry, Colm Quinn and Ray O’Shaughnessy, as they prepare for the upcoming An Post International Rás will be the Tour of Ulster on the May bank holiday weekend.
This long running event, which is regularly regarded as the country’s second biggest event, is held in around the mountains of Tyrone. The last club man to achieve outright success in the event was Kevin Dolan back in the 60s. Given Barry’s excellent 6th place overall in Easter’s Rás Moon, he could be a dark horse for this event.