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Final Round at Friends First Laragh Classic 3rd September
By Heather Boyle, Cycling Ireland Communications Officer
4 Sep 2017,

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RESULTS: Men’s National Road Series – Final Round at Friends First Laragh Classic 3rd September

TRALEE’S Sean Lacey was on Saturday crowned the Cycling Ireland Men’s National Road Series Champion for the second year in succession after finishing third in the Wicklow finale, the Friends First Laragh Classic.

Gas Networks Ireland Nenagh Classic winner Mark Dowling lined up with a ten-point lead over Lacey’s Aqua Blue Sport Academy team mate Mark O’Callaghan, Lacey sitting in fourth and fellow Aqua Blue man Matteo Cigala in third.

The hilly terrain alone - including the infamous Wicklow Gap - made Dowling favourite to land the race and the title, but Aqua Blue played the stronger hand, and it was Lacey who capitalised.

“It was the goal for the team to win the National Road Series,” he said. “What we had to do was play to our number advantage and be aggressive.
We knew we had to ride aggressively because Mark Dowling is in exceptional form at the moment and this is terrain that would suit him.

‘The goal was to make Mark work, and that was out of respect more than anything else. He had to be the one chasing and I was the one who just happened to go at the start and the race developed from there.”

International rider Philip Lavery made is National Road Series debut a winning one, having placed in the Laragh Classic last year, John Beggs Memorial Road Race winner Adam Stenson continuing his fine form to be second, with Lacey in third and the Lucan CRC pairing of Dermot Trulock and Conn McDunphy in fourth and fifth.

Second placing offering 60 points gave Lacey a final tally of 162, Dowling finishing 10th to end on 148 points. With 144 points his team mates Cigala and O’Callaghan will round out the podium when the full awards are dished out at Cycling Ireland’s end of year bash.

“It’s nice to win the road series for a second year in a row,” reflected Lacey. “I’ll take a break now and spend some weekends at home with the family, because I’m very lucky to have a supportive wife and kids that enable me to go off racing at the weekends and training during the week, so it’s quality time with them that I will be focussing on now.”

Stenson’s late-season peaking earned him fifth place overall, with Craig Rea in sixth and Dermot Trulock and Sean Moore tied for 7th.

Victory went to National Road Race Champion Lydian Boylan in the Women’s National Road Series Finale, Alice Sharpe taking second position and last year’s champion Claire McIlwainer third.

That performance moved McIlwaine up on to this year’s final podium, Team Madigan’s Katharine Smyth taking second behind the all-conquering Para-Cycling World and Olympic Champion Eve McCrystal - this year’s Women’s National Road Series Champion.

RESULTS: Women’s National Road Series – Final Round at Friends First Laragh Classic 3rd Sept

NEWLY-CROWNED double World Para-Cycling Champion Eve McCrystal picked up yet another title this weekend as the Garda CC rider landed the Cycling Ireland National Road Series.

In an emphatic week for McCrystal, Rio 2016 medallist piloted Katie George-Dunlevy to Gold in both the Tandem Time Trial and Road Race at the Para-Cycling World Championships in South Africa.

Her duties there meant McCrystal missed the final round of the National Road Series at the Friends First Laragh Classic in County Wicklow, but her four victories and two seconds in the previous six rounds had left her with an almost unassailable lead.

“I really enjoyed the format of the National League this year, so I’m delighted to win the overall,” said McCrystal from South Africa.

“The courses were great and I think it’s brilliant to see challenging courses on the calendar all through the season. The promoting clubs did a great job this year. It’s so important for the progression and for improving standards in women’s cycling in Ireland.”

Team Madigan’s Katharine Smyth was the only rider capable of overtaking the supreme leader, the double points on offer meaning a first or second in the Laragh Classic would give Smyth the overall win.

Supported by plenty of team mates, Smyth gave it her all, racing twice over the Wicklow Gap in a gruelling 97km race, but in the end she could manage only fourth, Irish National Champion Lydia Boylan winning, with recent Omagh Three-Day winner Alice Sharpe taking second, and last year’s National Road Series Champion Claire McIlwaine back in third.

McCrystal has been dominant throughout the National Road Series and retained her lead by 15 points, Smyth finishing second and McIlwaine catapulting herself up to third.

Joe Daly Cycles, based in Dundrum, Dublin, is a great supporter of women’s cycling, and continued their sponsorship of the Women’s League in this year’s new format. Appreciating their ongoing support McCrystal said “A special thank you to Joe Daly Cycles for sponsoring the Women’s National Series and for their ongoing support.”

The Men’s National Road Series also concluded in Saturday’s Laragh Classic won Philip Lavery. Aqua Blue Sport Academy’s Sean Lacey finished third in the race to win the overall title for the second year in succession.

The Tralee man, based in Cork, beat long-time league leader Mark Dowling by 14 points, his team mates Mark O’Callaghan and Matteo Cigala tied for third place.

Rankings will be updated at this link within a week of each round:


National Road Series – Round 7 – Friends First Laragh Classic 3rd September
Release 31st August.

THE Cycling Ireland National Road Series closes with a thrilling double points race in the heart of Wicklow this Sunday.

After a challenging summer of action across the four provinces the race for the podiums in both men and women's races will be decided on Wicklow Gap in the Friends First Laragh Classic.

Strata3 Velo Revolution rider Mark Dowling leads the men's standings, taking that spot with an emptying win in the Gas Networks Ireland Nenagh Classic.

Dowling already has his name on etched on the Laragh Classic's Wicklow granite cobble, and will be relishing the introduction of the Laragh Classic to the route.

Garda CC's Eve McCrystal has been a thorough Champion throughout the women's series, winning all but three rounds and finishing no worse than second.

Away on international duty, the Rio 2016 medallist will miss Sunday's final round though, leaving the door open for Katharine Smyth - 80 points being on offer for first place.

With Ras na mBan, Ireland's premier international women's stage race beginning next Wednesday, Sunday's race is expected to be the biggest and strongest of the series so far.

A test for the riders, the race route up the mighty Wicklow Gap will be a spectacle for all, the Tour De France having taken that route back in 1998.

Races commence at 10.30am. Sign on will open at 8.30am in The Brockagh Resource Centre, Laragh, Co. 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:

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