Last Wednesday evening we hosted the 4th round of the Sligo Cycling league, It was road race & we chose the Carraroe to Ballyfarnon route & back to Union hill for the finish.
Stephen & Conor took to the excel spreadsheets to make sure the Handicaps were accurate and to make sure each of the 5 groups on the road had a chance of winning , the ladies went first at 7pm on the button , The M50’s and a few others headed off 8 minutes after , with the first of the Limited competition riders 6 minutes behind,
The controversy started here with the LC2 group and A4 riders having to wait 4 minutes to get going knowing the scratch group would be in hot pursuit 2 minutes after them.
The racing on the night didn’t disappoint, the lads in the scratch had a point to prove after the mishandling in round 2 & they set off up Union & onto Geevagh picking up KOM after KOM en route, just after the Lough Beo turn off they caught the LC & A4 Group which created a huge group of riders heading towards the turn in Ballyfarnon.
Up the road things were also going well for the LC1 group with the Yeats riders doing the bulk of the work to keep us motoring up the road, about 2 minutes out from the turn the ladies & the M50’s With BCC’s Annabel Gilmartin making a break away zoomed passed as they were already heading for home, with what was a sizeable lead at that point.
The LC1 group turned in Ballyfarnon with an Average speed of 41.7kms/hr , well ahead of what was predicted, they were going well & just like climbing Union at the start the bunch grouped together and headed for the hill knowing the best chance of winning was staying together.
Just has they got back in the groove and moving nicely with consistent flow of riders to the front, that beautiful sound of Carbon wheels and tyres on Tarmac came rushing passed, the last group on the road was heading for the turn, the lead over the Scratch and the rest was smaller than what the M50’s and the ladies had over LC1,
The heads dropped a little as the inevitability of getting caught was looming, there was less riders willing to go to the front now and just at the top of some hill (I can’t remember which one), reality set in and coming up the right hand side of the pack , chins on handle bars were 3 riders in the Green kits we wanted to see , Sexton, Scanlon & Fallon all BCC riders had broken away from the large group and the rest of the scratch lads, they had one thing in mind and that was a 1-2-3 finish, but with a strong M50 group along with the ladies still up the road , the work wasn’t done.
They started pulling away but with a strong burst from Paul Carr & Kevin Egan the two lads got on the back wheel and pulled the rest of the group along, it was about 16kms to the finish and business was just picking up , each LC rider dug in deep but the pack was getting smaller, Conor Sheridan of IWCC and Mark Walsh of YCCC done some super work at the base of a few hills to keep us on the train home.
As we raced as far as Ballygawley on the stretch into it before the garden sheds, we seen the sight we all wanted to see, it was the 201 Peugeot 508 Allure 1.5Hdi Automatic finished in Pearl White with only 6000kms on the clock, retailing at Kevin Egan Cars for only €34950 , it was the lead car and the M50’s and ladies had grouped together behind it.
The race was on and it wasn’t long until it was one big group, Aidan Mullane fresh from winding up and deafening everyone in the M50 group went to work on Coaching what was left of his team mates left in the leading pack.
Who was gonna move first? , where will I try and go? , Who’s the strongest here? Were defiantly 3 questions going through at least all the unexperienced riders minds at this time. Just then travelling through the trees of Ballygawley wood at 55kms/hr “Davoren The Destroyer” took centre stage and he just kicked into a lead, Brian or Mark chose not to chase. (or they weren’t able I didn’t ask)! There was a scramble for the front positions but Scanlon went next as the road widened and closely followed by Brian Sexton and no one had an answer for that, it was the Bottecchia 1-2–3 they were after and it was all but in the bag.
Who was going to be the best of the rest?
Under the watchful eye of the K&D developments security cameras Liam Kelly broke next for us and it worked a charm, as he powered into a 6th place finish behind YCCC riders Shiny Steve & Rodney Reddy , Kevin Egan was 7th followed by the ever popular Hugh Bennett of IWCC, Paul Carr in 9th and the top ten was completed by the very impressive Annabel Gilmartin.
The timings and handicaps may have been controversial on the night, But in the Top Ten , 4 of the 5 groups were represented which suggested everyone had a chance of winning, The 3 lads on the podium were on form and in the mood for a good evenings work and they didn’t disappoint right from the starting line.
Congrats to All riders on the night, a big Thank you to all Marshalls & Ambulance crew.
More importantly a get well soon message to our BCC teammate Cormac Behan who had an accident just metres from the line after a very strong performance over the course & distance.
Get well soon Cormac , hope to see you & everyone else next week!