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ROAD RACING Last Updated: 5 Sep 2018 - 8:42:34 AM

By Press Release
3 Sep 2018,

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National Road Series R6: Austrian Gruber-Stadler and Lucan's Trulock win Laragh Classic

AUSTRIAN rider Hannah Gruber-Stadler won Saturday’s Women’s Cycling Ireland National Road Series Round 6, as the 18-year-old prepared for a crack at Ireland’s top international stage race for Women: Ras na mBan.

Riding for her home team ARBO Rapso Knittelfeld, Gruber-Stadler was among an elite 22-strong field for the Friends First Laragh Classic in County Wicklow, and made the first selection up the Wicklow Gap on the race’s first ascent of the climb.

She was joined by six other riders, National Road Series leaders, Aine Donegan (Scott-Orwell), Eve McCrystal (Garda CC) and Katharine Smyth (Ballymena RC), Round 5 winner Lauren Creamer (Brotherton Cycles), Irish International Imogen Cotter, and Smugglers Cycling Club rider Isobel Oakes.

After the first summit, the seven rode together on the lowlands, then declared race-on once again as the rode went up at Hollywood, on the way to the second, longer ascent up the Wicklow Gap. Gruber-Stadler attacked inside the final 5km to win alone.

She said: “The race was really great, I really enjoyed riding up the Wicklow Gap. That was an amazing, amazing climb. The first attack didn’t really stick, so on the last 5km I attacked again, and this one took me to the finish. I will come back to the Laragh Classic for sure.”

Gruber-Stadler will ride for British team Torelli-Brother-Assure at Ras na mBan, which begins on Wednesday in Kilkenny. The race also features an Irish National Team, set to be led by McCrystal, Donegan also pencilled into the startlist.

Donegan sprinted with Cotter for second position in the Laragh Classic, but the tired riders came together on the hill, Donegan crashing out. Cotter stayed upright to ride on for second, Creamer taking third, Smyth fourth and McCrystal fifth, with Donegan remounting to claim sixth. That move earned her 19 National Road Series points, and keeps the Dublin rider on top of the table, Smyth and McCrystal rounding out the podium.

In the Men’s National Road Series Round 6, Dermot Trulock (Lucan Road Cycling Club) lifted St. Tiernan’s Cycling Club’s Laragh Classic Cobble, recording a second win in as many rounds, after last month landing the John Beggs Memorial Road Race.

He said: “It was hard, my legs were killing me all day on those dead roads. I was happy it was a hilltop finish though - this is my kind of race. Myself and Darnell Moore went on the bottom of the last climb up to the Wicklow Gap, and we caught Ben Walsh and Conor McCann, I stopped behind them, then attacked late and won.”

Such was the test of the 87km route that after 20km, nearly half the field had been dropped. By the time the bunch crested the Wicklow Gap for the first time, there was a split in the bunch, the likes of Des Hanlon winner Sean McKenna and National Road Series second Jamie Blanchfield caught behind.

Series leader Conor Hennebry was in the front group though, with former Laragh Classic winner Mark Dowling for company amongst a 15-strong group. They could not hold off the bigger chasing bunch though, and were caught before the end of the descent.

Attacks began in earnest on the main road to Blessington, the first substantial break of the day created as Ben Walsh, Angus Fyffe, Andy Maguire, and Conor McCann went away, NRPT’s Liam Curley setting off in pursuit through Hollywood.

It was every man for himself up the Wicklow Gap, and 20-year-old Trulock prevailed, Conor McCann (Inspired Cycling) taking second, Ben Walsh (Vitus Pro Cycling) finishing third. National Road Series leader Conor Hennebry took 5th position to extend his lead over Jamie Blanchfield, with only one race remaining.

The final round of the 2018 Cycling ireland National Road Series takes place on Saturday, September 15 at the Blair International Red Hand Trophy in Ballymena, County Antrim, promoted by Ballymena Road Club. Double points will be available to the top 20 finishers in the Men’s and Women’s National Road Series Races.


A1-A2 Race
1. Dermot Trulock Lucan CRC
2. Conor McCann Inspired Cycling
3. Ben Walsh Vitus Pro Cycling
4. Darnell Moore Caldwell Cycles Omagh
5. Conor Hennebry Viner-Caremark-Pactimo
6. Liam Curley NRPT-Chill Insurance
7. Aaron Doherty NRPT-Chill Insurance
8. James Davenport Strata 3-VeloRevolution
9. Luke Smith Viner-Caremark-Pactimo
10. Sean Moore Gerard-DHL

Women’s Race
1. Hannah Gruber-Stadler ARBO Racing
2. Imogen Cotter Burren CC
3. Lauren Creamer Brotherton Cycles
4. Katharine Smyth Ballymena RC
5. Eve McCrystal Garda CC-Richies Cycles
6. Aine Donegan Scott-Orwell
7. Isobel Oakes Smugglers CC
8. Máire Claffey
9. Monica Marconi Scott-Orwell
10. Laura Campbell Ballymena RC



National Road Series Round 6 - Laragh Classic

WICKLOW GAP is set to be the scene of the penultimate clash on the 2018 Cycling Ireland National Road Series circuit this Saturday, as the leaders tackle the Friends First Laragh Classic.

Uniquely, the Men’s and Women’s National Road Series races will be run over identical courses, covering 87km of some of County Wicklow’s toughest terrain. Hosts St. Tiernan’s Cycling Club have devised a continuous hilly circuit, that will climb the Wicklow Gap twice.

In a grandstand finish, both elite races will also finish on the Wicklow Gap summit, a location visited by the Tour de France in 1998, and by Ireland’s premier stage race, Ras Tailteann last May. They, and the Laragh Classic, are among the rare chances to race up this famous climb.

The standings in the Women’s National Road Series table are topped by Dublin’s Aine Donegan, who has successfully transferred professional triathlon form to road racing this term. The Scott-Orwell Wheelers rider is yet to win a National Road Series race, but has recorded four consecutive podiums to build a lead of 15 points over defending champion Eve McCrystal.

Early leader Katharine Smyth has dropped down to third, but trails McCrystal by just a point and finished fourth in last year’s Laragh Classic to professionals Alice Sharpe and Lydia Boylan, and former National Road Series winner Claire McIlwaine.

At the top of the Men’s National Road Series is Waterford’s Conor Hennebry, winner of the Donamon GP in Round 3. The Viner-Caremark-Pactimo rider suffered a dip in form at the John Beggs Memorial Road Race in Round 5 and could be vulnerable again.

Jamie Blanchfield, a regular training partner of Hennebry, is the main danger to his hopes for National Road Series honours. He sits 22 points off his lead, 40 points available for a win on Saturday, and double points down to 20th position available for the finale at the Red Hand Trophy on Saturday, September 15th.

Team Gerard-DHL could be Saturday’s strongest team, Sean Moore and Cian Sutcliffe creeping up into the top four. They are set to be joined by John Beggs fifth Dillon Corkery, as well as Andy Maguire, Luke Kearney and Jack Caldwell.

The Laragh Classic is based at the Brockagh Centre in Laragh, County Wicklow, with all races beginning from race HQ at 11am, and finishing at the top of the Wicklow Gap. Live updates will be available on Cycling Ireland National Road Series channels. Follow @CINatRoadSeries on Twitter for coverage.

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