||Last Updated: Aug 10, 2017 - 8:55:41 PM
Bennett Finishes Just Outside Top Ten at European Championships
2017 European Road Race Championships
By Heather Boyle, Cycling Ireland Communications Officer
Aug 6, 2017,
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6th August 2017 Sam Bennett finished just outside the top ten in the Elite Men’s Road Race at the UEC 2017 European Road Cycling Championships in Herning, Denmark, today. Racing as one of the pre-race favourites, the professional cyclist with Bora-Hansgrohe finished in 11th place in the fast bunch sprint at the end of 241.2km of racing.
The European title went to Norway’s Alexander Kristoff with Elia Viviani of Italy getting second in what was a photo finish on the line. Dutchman Moreno Hofland rounded off the podium, winning bronze.
In the early stages of the race, a trio of Lukas Spengler (Switzerland), Iceland’s Anton Elfarsson and Nikolai Shumov (Belarus) led the race, with a substantial lead, which resulted in a steady pace in the main peloton. At approximately 80km to go the gap was closed to the break, with all three Irish riders together.
Coming to the line Bennett avoided a crash in the closing metres, disappointed to be outside the medals, in eleventh place. Also competing today were Sean McKenna and Damien Shaw, both of whom compete for An Post Chainreaction, with the pair finishing 59th and 112th respectively.
Cycling Ireland Technical Director Brian Nugent was pleased with the overall performance of the team this week, saying: “It’s great to be competitive across the board at this level. People were active in the breaks in each race, and that’s good to see. We had a lot of results in and around the top ten in the time trial, and winning an elite medal was absolutely phenomenal. It was a really good week.”
This was the last day of racing at the European Road Championships, which ran from Wednesday 2nd to Sunday 6th August. It rounded off what has been a sensational few weeks for Irish cycling, with Mullen’s bronze in the Elite Men’s Time Trial earlier this week bringing to five the number of medals won by Ireland in European Championships in less than three weeks.
Next up for the Irish cycling team is the UCI Junior World Track Cycling Championships from the 23-27th August, and the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships from the 31st August – 3rd September 2017.
Bunch Sprint For Boylan in Elite Women’s Road Race at the European Championships
5th August 2017 Exciting racing in the Elite Women’s Road Race at the UEC 2017 European Road Cycling Championships saw Ireland’s sole female racer, Lydia Boylan compete impressively to finish 38th in the bunch sprint amongst a world class field. The 120.6km race was won by one of the world’s most decorated and successful cyclists, Marianne Vos (NED) with double World Road Champion Giorgia Bronzini (ITA) in second place. Olympic medallist Olga Zabelinskaya (RUS) rounded off the podium winning bronze. The European Championships take place from the 2-6 August in Herning, Denmark.
Boylan rode aggressively in a fast race, with an impressive attack at the halfway mark. After the race, the Dubliner was pleased with her performance, highlighting the dominance of the nine-person Dutch team –
“I wanted to be active in the race, while also conserving energy – knowing that it was likely to come to a bunch sprint. It was an interesting race – and hard when you are up against nine Dutch riders, who are all potential winners! That was a prestigious bunch to be competing in, and I was happy to get attention for the Irish jersey with my attack. But it was a fast championship race, and everyone was fighting for the front.”
The determined Team WNT Pro-cycling rider was well placed in a world class field of racers – “I didn’t want to be anonymous in the race, and I didn’t want to roll around at the back. I’m used to racing on my team, where the other girls are looking out for me, so I had to make sure as well not to burn my matches.”
Earlier in the day the U23 Men’s Road Race saw an impressive performance from the four-person Irish team, with Daire Feeley and Darragh O’Mahony finishing in 28th and 34th place respectively in the sprint for gold. Matthew Teggart and Michael O’Loughlin were just seconds behind them in 68th and 96th place.
Due to an injury Eddie Dunbar was unable to start the road race today, on a day where O’Loughlin was particularly active. Casper Pederson won the European Title, the Dane also competed in the Dublin Track Cycling International last month! Silver went to Benoit Cosnefroy (FRA) and Switzerland’s Marc Hirschi took bronze.
Tomorrow is the final day of racing at the European Road Cycling Championships, and will see the Elite Men compete for the title over a 241.2km course. The championships take place in Herning, Denmark, from Wednesday 2nd – Sunday 6th August.
Buller Best of Irish in Junior Road Race at the European Championships
3rd August 2017 John Buller was the best of the Irish in the Junior Men’s Road Race at the UEC 2017 European Road Cycling Championships in Herning, Denmark today. In a flat race with a predictably fast bunch sprint finish, the Banbridge man finished 24th, with PJ Doogan just behind him in 25th place. The European title went to Michele Gazzoli (ITA), silver to Norway’s Soren Waerenskjold, and the bronze medal was won by Niklas Markl (GER).
Speaking after a race that was coloured with crashes, Junior Men’s Team Manager Martin O’Loughlin described a good team performance: “It was a good team performance, and they stuck to the plan. Typical of Junior races in Europe, it was totally strewn with crashes and punctures. Thank God nobody was seriously hurt, though.”
On the flat 120.6km course, the 20km circuit promised fast aggressive racing: “We expected a bunch gallop, which it was, so we put all the powers behind getting John to the finish. Ben Walsh was very aggressive in the race, but he punctured, and we were unlucky to lose Aaron [Doherty] in the first lap due to a crash. He got back on the bike, but had no chance of getting on.”
Tomorrow will see the U23 Men compete over 160.8km in the morning, with National Champion Lydia Boylan contesting the Elite Women’s 120.6km Road Race in the afternoon. The championships take place in Herning, Denmark, from Wednesday 2nd – Sunday 6th August.
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