||Last Updated: Jun 19, 2017 - 11:01:03 PM
RESULTS: National Road Series – Round 4 – Brian McNamara Memorial Race
National Road Series – Round 4 – Brian McNamara Memorial Race – 11th June
By Heather Boyle, Communications Officer
Jun 13, 2017,
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THROUGH driving crosswinds and summer rain, Meath-based Matteo Cigala survived a torrent of late attacks to win his first Cycling Ireland National Road Series race at the Brian McNamara Memorial on Sunday.
Jumping into the early breakaway on Tuam CC’s 126km race, the Aqua Blue Sport Academy rider found himself amongst strong company, including series leader Mark Dowling (Strata 3/Velo Revolution) and top Under 23 Con McDunphy (Lucan CRC).
However, the Italian being the group’s strongest sprinter, none of his six companions wanted to race with him to the final.
“In the last 25 minutes I saw spikes of over 700 watts 25 times on my power data,” said Cigala. “We were down to just four on that last lap and they attacked basically every minute in those last 25. But I was able to close all the gaps and was able to win the sprint of four guys.”
He added: “This was my main goal for June, after the Ras, but I didn’t come into it as well as I would have liked.
“On the last three days of the Ras, I got very sick, and 10 days after that I had an exam - I’m studying Business Management - so my focus was on study and I didn’t really go out on the bike at all.
“Every time I was out, it was just for coaching my clients, and even then, I felt terrible; last Sunday, racing in Dunboyne, I struggled to finish. But today, I felt good again for the first time.”
With Sunday’s victory, Cigala has closed the gap on Gas Networks Ireland Nenagh Classic winner Dowling to 12 points. Belfast rider Craig Rea (Phoenix CC) is the weekend’s biggest mover, his third position in the Brian McNamara moving him up 12 places to joint fifth with Omagh Wheelers’s Angus Fyffe on 55 points.
Rea finished just ahead of McDunphy, second 24hrs earlier in the Naas CC Open TT, who moves up from seventh to third in the table, with a 14-point buffer on opening round winner Darragh O’Mahoney, now fourth.
Local riders Paul Kennedy (Newcastlewest CC) and Jarlath Hassett (Burren CC) also made the top 10, finishing fifth and seventh, sandwiching the winner’s team mate Greg Swinnand in sixth. They enter the table at 19th and 20th.
Few completed the race due to the challenging winds, and there was no let up for the Women’s National Road Series Race either, which went the way of Madigan CC’s Katharine Smyth.
Having finished third, second, and fourth to series leader Eve McCrystal in the previous rounds, Smyth became the first rider to finish ahead of the Garda CC star, who finished second.
“There was a steepish climb about 12km in, which split the race completely,” Smyth said. “Myself, Eve and Fiona Guihen rode away and the gap just kept opening up. At the same place on the second lap, Fiona didn’t get up the climb, then it was Eve and I.
“We rode fairly steady and worked together for a while, then about 10km out Eve attacked me a couple of times and said, ‘let’s go hard to the finish and try to simulate what’s to come in two weeks time at the Nationals’. We could have just ridden in together and sprinted for the line, but we wanted to get the most out of the race.”
At the final bend, Smyth launched the winning attack, powering the last 200m to take the win. Back in third was Black Rose Racing’s Fiona Guihen, who became the weekend’s biggest mover with that return to form taking her up 16 places to 13th position.
Phoenix CC’s Julie Rea was another who shone, her sixth placing taking her up seven places to joint seventh with St Tiernan’s CC’s Kate Earlie.
Despite missing the race through injury, Scott-Orwell’s Orla Walsh remains in third position with 75 points, Niamh O’Donovan (fifth on Sunday) moving up from sixth to fourth, and last year’s winner Claire McIlwaine slipping to fifth.
Round five of the Cycling Ireland Men’s and Women’s National Road Series will be hosted by Lakeside Wheelers in Multyfarnham, County Westmeath at the Mullingar GP on July 16.
NEWCASTLE WEST CC’S Paul Kennedy is among the top riders aiming to use the Cycling Ireland National Road Series’s first trip west this Sunday to get on the 2017 leaderboard.
After a spring in Leinster, the men’s league heads to Connacht for Round 4 at Tuam CC’s 126km Brian McNamara Memorial Race, backed by Burkesbus.com and Greenpark Nursing Home.
Kennedy, flying high in the A1 rider rankings after inspired riding at the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan and 24th in the An Post Ras County Rider Classification, finished 30th in last year’s National Road Series, with points scored at Ras Luimini, Wicklow’s Shay Elliott, Kerry’s Killorglin CC GP, and the Brian McNamara Memorial.
He will again line up in the race, and those from Leinster and the North who have thus far dominated the standings, can expect more of his ilk to follow, the likes of Burren CC’s Mark Shannon and Jarlath Hassett having already taken big scalps at the An Caislean Nua Classic and Darach McCarthy & Co Solicitors Road Race this season.
Regardless, this being the first National Road Series round after the An Post Ras, racing is expected to be fast and explosive as the competition reaches the halfway point.
Sign on opens at 8.30am at Coral Leisure Centre in Tuam, with the Men’s and Women’s National Road Series Races rolling out from there at 10.15am to start at 10.30am.
Both elite races will be run on the same 28km circuit, the men’s event racing four laps and 126km, and the women’s racing 2 laps and 69km.
In the women’s race, Garda CC’s Eve McCrystal will be looking to maintain her unbeaten record in the series this year, Team Madigan CC’s Katharine Smyth her nearest rival and Phoenix CC’s Claire McIlwaine dangerous if on form.
Missing from the line up will be Scott-Orwell’s improver Orla Walsh, who injured her collarbone on the track last week. Racing for just her second season, Walsh had made her way up to third behind McCrystal and Smyth, trailing Smyth by just 15 points.