Sunday last saw the start of Irish road racing season and many of the country’s leading cyclists chose Dundalk to launch their 2012 campaign with the 70th Anniversary of the Traders Cup.
Originally promoted by local traders as a means of promoting their businesses, the race is a classic of the Irish calendar and has raced over many of the roads around Dundalk.
For the last few seasons the race has been headquartered at Dowdallshill GFC and uses a 17km circuit around the Carlingford Road and Ravensdale. This year saw a new finish line venue on the Carlingford Road.
Three separate races were run on the day, the main event being a handicapped race for the A3, A2 and A1 riders.
Myles McCorry, Ray O’Shaughnessy, Colm Quinn and club newcomer Michael Barry were all riding this race in preparation for the An Post Rás taking place this May. Aidan Cunningham and Gerry McCabe also signed on for this race.
The Dundalk men were active throughout and were instrumental in getting the A1/2 bunch up to the A3s. In the sprint for the win Waterford rider Thomas Lavery emerged from the bunch to take the win ahead of Stamullen’s David Wherity, with Lavery’s Waterford team mate in 3rd spot Oriel Carbo in 3rd.
In the supporting A4 race Cuchulainn CC had a plethora of riders sign on, including some first times and those returning for yet another season. The racing here was fast and furious and the Dundalk riders did their best to take advantage of racing on home soil, featuring prominently in a number of breaks.
However at the end a large bunch contested the sprint finish and it was Mullingar man Billy Cunnane, riding with Lakeside Wheelers winning, with his teammate Garrett Butler in 3rd. Navan rider Niall Doggett squeezed in between these two for 2nd.
The final race of the day was the ladies and over 50 males. This race was to be the road debut for Cuchulainn’s Eve McCrystal, riding alongside club-mate Annette Dawe. Both rode strongly throughout the race, though Eve was unfortunate to puncture late in the race while still in the leading pack along with Annette. The victory went to Cycleways’ Melaine Spath.