Sunday last saw the first big showdown of the 2014 cycling season when 140 riders descended on Carlow for the annual Des Hanlon Classic.
The 100 mile race, which features some of the most brutal hills in the country, is one of the most prestigious one day races in the country and sees the top riders travel from throughout the country to compete.
The course is legendary and features three ascents of the dreaded ‘butts’ climb as well as a number of other significant hills.
The list of winners reads like a who’s who of Irish cycling. Dundalk now has a man on that list as Bryan McCrystal put in a massive show of power to take a solo win.
The large bunch rolled out of Carlow and within the first 10km McCrystal went away in a break of six riders and that was the last most would see of him for the day.
After the first flurry of hills a chase group of 20 riders had formed behind the main break and Cuchulainn’s Liam Dolan was present in this group.
Slowly but surely McCrystal dispensed with his breakaway compatriots and with 25 miles to go set off alone to take the chequered flag.
The chase group caught the vast majority of the original break and Dolan came home in the top 20. Behind in the main bunch was Sean Loughran. Alan Grey was also comfortably in this bunch until a puncture pulled the plug on his day with less than 30 miles to go.
April 10 will see the commencement of the FPM Accountants Summer Cycling League. This event is pre-registration only and those interested should go to www.dundalkcycling.com