Big battle in store at Cycling Ireland’s national road championships

The junior men will be first off, beginning their 96 kilometre race at 9am on Saturday

Ben Healy during the Cycling Ireland time trial national championships. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Ben Healy during the Cycling Ireland time trial national championships. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Following Thursday’s time trial events, Cycling Ireland’s national road championships will continue over the weekend with a range of road races based at the Beehive Inn in Wicklow.

The junior men will be first off, beginning their 96 kilometre race at 9am on Saturday. Time trial winner Darren Rafferty (Villeneuve Cycliste) will be closely watched after his dominating performance in Thursday’s time trial, where he finished almost three minutes clear of the next rider Ronan O’Connor (Orwell Wheelers).

Rafferty won a number of races in France this season, was fourth in the junior time trial at the European championship and 11th at the same event in the world championships. He will be the clear favourite, but riders such as 2020 champion O’Connor will hope to take advantage of any close marking of Rafferty.

The women’s road race then follows. Defending champion Lara Gillespie will be absent this year, but riders such as recent world championship participant Megan Armitage (Team Rupelcleaning - Champion Lubricants), National Road Series winner Fiona Mangan (Illi-Bikes Cycling Team), former title holder and double Paralympics 2020 gold medallist Eve McCrystal (Bellurgan Wheelers), Imogen Cotter (Keukens Redant Cycling Team) and former national champion Lydia Boylan (Independiente) will be amongst the riders fighting for gold. The 93 kilometre race begins at 1am.

On Sunday the junior women’s event will see the riders fight for the title over 77 kilometres. Starting at 9am, the field will include Aoife O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar) and Erin Grace Creighton (McConvey Cycles) who last week represented Ireland in the junior road race at the world championships.

The elite and Under-23 men’s road race features a strong lineup, including WorldTour professionals Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) and Nicolas Roche (Team DSM) - first and second in Thursday’s elite time trial - plus Eddie Dunbar (Ineos Grenadiers) and Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep). Ben Healy (Trinity Racing) will line out hoping to defend his title.

Also competing are Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb SunGod), who lined out with Mullen and Dunbar in last Sunday’s elite road race at the world championships, the in-form Matthew Teggart (Velo Club Villefranche Beaujolais) and Conn McDunphy (EvoPro Racing), who both participated in the European Road Championships, plus National Road Series winner Daire Feeley (All human/VeloRevolution), and Des Hanlon memorial winner Christopher McGlinchey (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus).

Thursday’s Under-23 time trial medallists Kevin McCambridge (Amical Velo Club Aixois), George Peden (Team PB Performance) and Cian Keogh (Willebrord Wil Vooruit) will be amongst the closely watched riders in the Under-23 category.

That race starts at noon on Sunday and will see the riders scrap it out over 160 kilometres.

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