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National Road Series – Round 3 Women’s Event – Deenside Wheelers 7th May
By Heather Boyle, Communications Officer
9 May 2017,
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GARDA CC’s Eve McCrystal was again unstoppable in the Cycling Ireland Women’s National Road Series last Sunday as she sprinted to a third successive victory.
The Dundalk rider has now won all three rounds of the 2017 elite league, her latest coming at the Deenside Cup in Kilkenny, after jumping away from her four breakaway rivals in the closing metres of the 75km race.
“Everything stayed together until the climb,” she said. “Katherine Smyth set a fast pace, and over the top a natural selection of five got away.”
The usual suspects of McCrystal, Smyth (Team Madigan) and Sinead Oakes (De Ronde CC) were in this break, but improvers Orla Walsh (Scott-Orwell) and Kate Earlie (St. Tiernan's CC) also stuck in for the first time, perhaps assisted by a tail wind over the long Glenmagoo climb.
“We got a one minute gap at the bottom of hill and we all worked really well together, pushing the gap all the time,” McCrystal continued. “We hit the climb the second time and I put in a effort with 500m to the summit but didn’t break, so we were all together for the sprint.
“I found myself boxed in with 300m to go and had a bit of work to get out of that so I was relieved to win.”
The win means McCrystal’s lead has extended to 30 points over second-placed Katharine Smyth, who finished fourth on Sunday, behind Sinead Oakes and newcomer Orla Walsh, the final member of the breakaway, Kate Earlie, taking fifth.
Walsh’s podium moves the Scott-Orwell rider up one place to third in the table, the absent Claire McIlwaine (Phoenix CC) dropping back to fourth and Earlie moving four places up to fifth.
Lakeside Wheelers junior Nicole Gorry was the first home from the bunch, finishing sixth and moving up up to eighth place from 11th.
With just three races of the National Road Series left, McCrystal is in Italy this week to pilot for Rio 2016 Paralympics medallist Katie George Dunlevy in the opening round of the Paracycling Road World Cup. The pair are scheduled to ride in Friday afternoon’s TT and Sunday morning’s road race.
McCrystal said: “We are in good shape. It’s Katie’s first race since Rio. She has the bit between her teeth and is ready to race.”
Following that, McCrystal intends to return to Ireland for Round 4 of the Women’s National Road Series at Tuam Cycling Club’s Brian McNamara GP.
That will also be Round 4 of the men’s edition, their Round 3 coming this weekend at the historic 60th Shay Elliott Memorial Race in County Wicklow.
PRESS RELEASE May 5th
NATIONAL Road Series leader Eve McCrystal returns to an evolving domestic road scene this Sunday as Deenside Wheelers host Round 3 in Kilkenny.
The Garda CC star has kept a low profile since winning the first two rounds in quick succession, leaving gates open for those below her in the National Road Series table to improve.
Newcomers Orla Walsh (Scott-Orwell) and Kate Earlie (St Tiernan's CC) have taken their first road wins since the Nenagh Classic in April, Earlie landing multiple blows, as well as earning a joint lead in Leinster's Scott-Orwell Women's Criterium League with one race remaining.
On points, Walsh and Earlie have a gulf to cross to reach McCrystal and the two riders who have filled second and third in the first two rounds - Claire McIlwaine (Phoenix CC) and Katharine Smyth (Madigan CC), but their recent victories signal them as improving riders who could this weekend make the jump to sticking with the top three.
McIlwaine, the reigning National Road Series champion, has also been in winning form since Nenagh, and comes into Sunday's Deenside Cup having won the event last year too.
Characterised by a town centre fly-through, the long drag up Glenmagoo, and a long, technical descent into the finish, the Deenside Cup is in its fourth year.
It is run on a 35km circuit in Castlecomer, County Kilkenny, with Round 3 of the Women's National Road Series covering two laps of the course.
All races will start at staggered times from 12.15pm, the women's race going off last. Sign on open at 10.30am and close at 12noon in Erins Own GAA, Cannon Kearns Park, Kilkenny Road.
The Men's National Road Series Round 3 will take place on Sunday, May 13 at the iconic 60th Shay Elliott Memorial Race in County Wicklow.
The National Road Series is a seven race series, with points counting for each race. Double points will be awarded for the last event on the calendar.
Rankings will be updated at this link within a week of each round: http://www.cyclingireland.ie/page/disciplines/road/national-road-series-rankings