Mullen repeats victory in time trial championship
Kelly Murphy claims the honours in women’s race
Ryan Mullen: will be looking to complete another double in Sunday’s road race. Photograph: Tim de Waele/Getty
One year after taking a rare time trial championship and Irish road race double, Ryan Mullen repeated the first of those triumphs on Thursday.
The Trek-Segafredo pro rider was clearly best in the 35-kilometre test, beating last year’s bronze medallist Marcus Christie (Performance SBR) and Paul Kennedy (Newcastle West CC) for gold.
In the women’s race, Kelly Murphy (Chapter 2) was quickest. She defeated 2017 champion Eileen Burns (Ballymena Road Club) and Eve McCrystal (Garda Cycling Club) to claim victory.
The under-23 event saw the same gold and silver medallists as one year ago, with Michael O’Loughlin (Team Wiggins) again beating Conn McDunphy (Holdsworth Pro Racing). Bronze went to Powerhouse Sport rider Xeno Young.
As for the juniors, Ben Healey (Zappi RT) topped the standings ahead of Aaron Doherty (Nicolas Roche Performance Team) and Breandan Flanagan (Powerhouse Sport).
In the paracycling events, Peter Ryan and Sean Hahessy bested Damien Vereker and Dermot Radford for the tandem win. Ronan Grimes (Scott Orwell Wheelers) took the C1-C5 race ahead of Chris Burns (Banbridge CC), while Declan Slevin (Rosemount Cycling Club) was quicker than Gary O’Reilly (Laois CTC) in the handcycling H1 - H5 clash.
This weekend sees the holding of the road races. On Saturday the elite women’s race will see multiple champion Lydia Boylan seeking to add to her haul in the 105-kilometre event. She will be up against riders such as Burns, Murphy and McCrystal, and has the advantage of a solid international race programme with her WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling team.
Also in action on Saturday are the junior men; they will race over 122.5 kilometres, one lap more than the women. Adam Ward (Powerhouse Sport) was third last year and, with one more season under his belt, will be one of the top favourites.
Sunday sees Mullen trying to repeat the second half of last year’s time trial and road race double; he will be up against a strong field in the 175-kilometre elite road race, including fellow WorldTour riders Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing Team) and Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe).
The same event will incorporate the under 23 championships, enabling strong riders such as O’Loughlin, Mark Downey and Matthew Teggart (all Team Wiggins) and Eddie Dunbar (Aquablue Sport) to square up against the older elites.
Not riding is former senior champion Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), who is focussing everything on improving on his sixth place in last year’s Tour de France. The proximity of the latter event to the championships makes it difficult for him to do both.