||Last Updated: 21 Mar 2022 - 8:21:34 PM
Press Release: 20/03/2022
Teggart and O'Brien claim victories in opening round of Road National Series
By Ciara O’Shea, Cycling Ireland
21 Mar 2022,
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The Road National Series 2022 opened with a stellar showing from Ireland’s best racing cyclists on the roads of Carlow. The Des Hanlon Memorial always guarantees exciting and dynamic racing over the Kileshin Hills and this year’s edition did not falter.
This year’s Road National Series sees the A1/A2 field, the male Juniors and the women’s field battle it out over a five round series. They could not have asked for a better opener as the Carlow Road Club hosted some attacking racing over a testing course.
The women were first home with a stunning repeat victory for Caoimhe O’Brien of Torelli Assure Cayman Islands Scimitar winning a stunning bunch sprint. Caoimhe won the same race last year and she was delighted to take the win.
The women’s race began as a defensive race with little success for attackers but the rolling uphill drags began to chip away at the staying power of the bunch. Caoimhe had attempted to break free and after a solo effort off the front she was brought back with just a few kilometres to go. A canny battler the Westmeath woman refocused and went for the sprint into the finish winning by just less than a bike length.
“Second year in a row so I’m really chuffed with it. On the main road it was a little bit dead with the headwind but when we got to the hill Mia Griffin rode it as hard as she could and that split things up. We were away for a bit and there was a bit of a descent just before the final drag and I just went for it as hard as I could. I got a bit of a gap and just kept on pushing. I think with 4kms to go I got caught. I got myself ready for the sprint and won it again. The first points put me in a really good place for the National Road Series so when I am at home I’m going to try and pick up the points. I am racing with a Continental team this year so I’ll be abroad a bit so hopefully when I’m at home I’ll keep banking a few points.”
Caoimhe was followed home by Mia Griffin and Erin Creighton.
The Junior men’s race saw victory for Westport’s Niall McLoughlin in a three up sprint. A headwind and the challenging climbs made the race a slogging slow race at first but then the first salvos of attacks began and Niall and two riders Conal Scully and Patrick O’Loughlin went clear as they neared the endgame. By their arrival onto the flat after the sweeping descent to the finish Niall let loose his sprint to take the win.
“It was a brilliant race, really enjoyed it. It was a lovely circuit – it was really slow for the first lap or so. A few of us got away on the second lap and finally caught up on a bit on attack on the last climbs myself Conal and Patrick got away and we worked together well into the finish. Conal put in a bit of an attack on one of the climbs. I caught up and had the sprint in me thankfully,” Niall said.
Niall now focuses to retain the Road National Series jersey.
“My plan for the season is to be as consistent as possible. I’m going take each day as it comes, every race is different and just need to build towards the big races and the bigger goals,” he added.
Matthew Teggart arrived home from his European base riding for Sungod at Continental level to complete his palmares of Irish classics. His plan, he told Cycling Ireland, was to take the Des Hanlon Memorial and this year was the moment when he realised that goal.
In a field of big hitters it took a special kind of early season form to win and Matthew did it in some style – securing victory in a 25kms solo ride.
The A1/A2 race was, like the Women and the Juniors, initially a defensive race with a large bunch riding across the rolling terrain. The elite men, with a bunch of 103 riders, went out fast however and it nullified early attacks. But as the finale loomed and the last climbs sucked the energy from the legs a selection of Ireland’s best riders went free. Inside in that group, talented Dean Harvey, in his first year in the senior ranks joined Matthew and Mark Dowling along with Gareth O’Neill.
Teggart wanted to win this in a solo effort and set out on a four minute effort to ride clear and take a lone victory. He was followed by a sprinting bunch led by Conor Murnane who took second and Leo Doyle who took third.
Afterwards a delighted Teggart spoke of his victory and his joy to take a major win on home roads.
“I won the Shay Elliot last year and this is the only big one I was missing. It is great to be able to race at home – it’s a great opportunity. I was really going for this one and all the better to pull it off solo. You don’t often get to do that so it was very nice,” he said.
Teggart spoke about the dynamic in the bunch on the first lap and described how he believed he almost missed the winning move.
“It was quite fast early on and nothing was going, so I sat back and watched what was going on. A big group did get established, about ten guys got away and it was all the big names so I was worried about that. Then on the second lap, I tried to bridge across on the main climb, it was touch and go trying to get across the gap so I wasn’t sure I would make it. It took a lot out of me but thankfully I recovered well and had good legs.
“There was a bit of attacking on the hill on the last lap and I went clear with Dean Harvey, who is going well, and Mark Dowling. We got clear and Gareth O’Neill came across so we were working well together, so I thought on the last climb I’d have a go. I went hard for three or four minutes and thankfully it was enough to break them. It was a long hard 25kms on my own but thankfully they held off,” he added.
Round Two of the Road National Series will take place in South Limerick where Newcastle Wheelers will play host to Ireland’s best on April 9, 2022.
1. Matthew Teggart - WiV SunGod
2. Conor Munrane - UCD Cycling Club
3. Leo Doyle - TWC Tempo Veldhoven
4. Killian Murphy - Galway Bay CC
5. Luke Smith - Moynalty CC
1. Caoimhe O’Brien - Torelli-Cayman Islands-Scimitar
2. Mia Griffin - ILLI Bikes CT
3. Erin Creighton - McCovney cycles (1st Junior)
4. Ella Doherty - UCD Cycling Club
5. Aoife O’Brien - Torelli (2nd Junior)
1. Niall McLoughlin - Westport Covey Wheelers
2. Patrick O’Loughlin - Panduit Carrick Wheelers
3. Con Scully - Carlow RCC
4. Sam Bolger - Killarney CC
5. Quillan Donnelly - Usher Irish RC