Cycling Round Up

Archives: Dublin Skip - Gorey 3 Day 2003

HARDWICK ON TOP, COLBERT ON FORM: (By Shane Stokes Apr 21) See Gorey Pictures Here  Killorglin’s Theo Hardwick today secured a fine win in the Dublin Skip Gorey 3 Day, safely maintaining his slender advantage over the many rivals who were within striking distance of his race lead. Principal threats to his lead were second-placed Danny Lynch (Kanturk), who won both stages yesterday and was just five seconds in arrears, and stage one winner Andrew McQuaid (Emerald), 13 seconds back. However a total of sixteen others were within one minute of the yellow jersey and with 54 miles of rolling, gusty roads, the second year junior was facing a tough day in the saddle.

Undeterred by the intermittent rain and chilly conditions, fourth placed Sean Bracken (Usher IRC) wasted little time in trying to overhaul his 19 seconds deficit, attacking two miles after the drop of the flag. Once recaptured, Finglas Ravens rider Kieran Kane had a go, but he too was reeled in after a brief spell out front. Indeed a similar fate awaited all the early moves; gaps would open, but with the Hardwick, his team and the bunch in general all seemingly committed to a group finish, little leeway was given.

The first break of any duration occurred after Baltinglass (36 miles) when a short-lived attack by Hugh Davis (Usher) was countered by a move containing five riders. Derek Finnegan (Navan RC), Noel McGlynn (Finglas Ravens), Mark McLeavey (Leinster), Aidan O’Shea (Killorglin Credit Union) and David Lane (UCD) opened up a 14 seconds advantage, and bolstered soon afterwards by the presence of David Duke (Usher IRC), John Wall (North Kildare), Declan Kinch (Bray), Wayne McGuire (North Bucks), Bobby Behan (Cycleways) and Emmet Hogan (Galway Bay), they looked to be in with a chance. And while the bunch did succeed in dragging some of these back, Kinch, Duke, O’Shea, McGlynn and Behan pressed on ahead with a handful of other riders to raise the stakes once more.

The new combination of aggressors included the yellow jersey, Lynch, McQuaid, Ray Cullen (Autoview) and Mark Cassidy (Cycleways Lee Strand) and, fully committed to the cause, they started moving out of sight of the bunch on the narrow, twisting roads towards Blessington. At first it was Behan and Cassidy who were most visible at the front, but in time all the others started to contribute equally. Even the yellow jersey was riding, moving through on the paceline rather than sitting at the back and so helping to further their chances of staying away. And yet, despite all this, the bunch did hold the gap to half a minute, before gradually, inexorably, reeling in those up front with two miles to go. Under such circumstances, the traditional stage four bunch finish was to be expected but Tile Choice/Murphy Gunn rider Mark Colbert seized the moment and profited from a slight stall to leap clear.

From there to the line it was a short, flat out effort and one which was rewarded with a fine victory. Next home was team-mate Keith Bannon, taking the bunch sprint with ease ahead of Kanturk duo Willie Curtin and Lynch, while Derek Finnegan (Navan RC) and Jonathan Cruise (Bray Wheelers) wheeled across the line in fifth and sixth. Further back in the bunch was a satisfied Hardwick, who finished in the same time as all the big danger men and so took a fine win.

‘It was a hard, wet day out there,’ said Colbert afterwards. ‘I felt pretty good during the stage and while I hadn’t planned beforehand to have a go when I did, things worked out that way. There was a little stall when we caught the break and I went then, and from there it was just a case of head down, arse up all the way to the line.’

‘I am using the road races to get some fast miles in for track racing – I am hoping to get onto the team for the B world championships this July. My coach Mark Kiely has also been advising Keith (Bannon) and it worked out well for us today, to get first and second on the stage.’

Bannon was well pleased with his ride, although he light-heartedly rued the missed opportunity to repeat his 1992 win on the final leg of the race. ‘Mark messed it up for me when he went at the end,’ he laughed. ‘I won here eleven years ago and it would have been nice to do it again, but first and second for the team is really good.’

And so the classification ended out as it had began 54 miles earlier, with Hardwick, Lynch, and McQuaid occupying the first three positions overall. Fourth-placed Bracken was best of the veterans, while Bill Millar (Carlow RC) and Hardwick were on top in the senior 3 and junior categories. Louise Moriarty (Leinster) rode strongly all weekend to come out best in the womens’ ranking, finishing towards the front in the bunch finishes and ending the race four minutes, 45 seconds ahead of Marie Reilly and over ten minutes clear of Collette Swift (both Irish team). They – and the other female contestants in the race – are hoping to secure a place on the team for the B world championships later this year. Like most of the Dublin Skip Gorey 3 day field, they will be hoping that this well organised, very competitive event will lead to an increase in race fitness and some good performances in the coming weeks.

Dublin Skip Gorey 3 day, stage 4: 1, Mark Colbert (Tile Choice/Murphy Gunn) 54 miles in 2 hours 16 mins 44 secs; 2, K. Bannon (Tile Choice/Murphy Gunn) at 3 secs; W. Curtin (Kanturk); 4, D. Lynch (Kanturk); 5, D. Finnegan (Navan RC); 6, J. Cruise (Bray Wheelers); 7, C. Crawley (Stamullen M. Donnelly); 8, D. Irwin (Leinster)

Overall: 1, Theo Hardwick (Killorglin Credit Union) 7 hours 49 mins 39 secs; 2, D. Lynch (Kanturk Credit Union) at 5 secs; 3, A. McQuaid (Emerald) at 13 secs; 4, S. Bracken (Usher IRC) at 19 secs; 5, B. Woods (Killorglin Credit Union) at 20 secs; 6, B. Behan (Cycleways Lee Strand) at 21 secs; 7, E. McMahon (Cycleways Lee Strand) at 24 secs; 8, D. Kinch (Bray Wheelers) at 32 secs; 9, B. Miller (Carlow RC) at 35 secs; 10, P. Reid (Ravens CRT) at 37 secs

Junior: 1, Hardwick, 7 hours 49 mins 58 secs; 2, Woods, at 20 secs; 3, M. Nestor (Shannonside) at 37 secs

Senior 3: 1,Bill Millar (Carlow RC) 7 hours 50 mins 14 secs; 2, N. McGlynn (Finglas Ravens) at 31 secs; 3, P. Sinnet (North Bucks Road Club) at 44 secs

Women: 1, Louise Moriarty (Leinster) 8 hours 5 mins 5 secs; 2, M. Reilly (Hibernian Team Ireland) at 4 mins 45 secs; 3, C. Swift (Hibernian Team Ireland) at 10 mins 37 secs

Veteran: 1, Sean Bracken (Usher IRC) 7 hours 49 mins 58 secs; 2, S. Willingham (CRCA Sanchez Metro) at 19 secs; 3, D. McCarthy (DPC First Legal) at 34 secs

(full results available at Seamus Shortall's website here) See Gorey Pictures Here

HARDWICK IN CONTROL, LYNCH IMPRESSES: (By Shane Stokes Apr 20) Killorglin Credit Union rider Theo Hardwick today took over at the top at the Gorey 3 day, seizing the lead from stage one winner Andrew McQuaid (Emerald) when he placed fourth in this morning’s 4 mile, headwind-buffeted time trial. Fastest in the test was Kanturk rider Daniel Lynch, who covered the course in a time of 9 minutes and 50.12 seconds, with Cycleways Lee Strand rider Brian Behan, Usher IRC’s Hughie Davis and Hardwick finishing less than ten seconds adrift. McQuaid was tenth on the stage, 22 seconds off Lynch’s winning time.

The action continued with a 60 mile afternoon stage, and with a number of riders less than a minute behind Hardwick, an aggressive race looked to be in store. This proved to be the case, with visiting rider Neil Martin opening the hostilities within minutes of the drop of the flag and Mark Nestor (Shannonside), Fergus Whelan (Staggs Lucan) and Hardwick’s team-mate Barry Woods then accelerating clear to bridge the gap. Riding well together to carve their way through the gusting winds, the quartet opened up a lead of 50 seconds over the main field, which began to split once the riders turned onto the main road back towards Gorey.

With about eight miles covered on this first of four laps, a large group of riders forged clear in pursuit of the four up front, mopping up the women – who had set off five minutes before the rest of the field – and then overhauling the leaders. This made a group of approximately 20 up front but by the 24 mile point, the bunch was back on terms and a short-lived ceasefire began. Three miles later Martin was at it again, going clear with the Usher IRC duo of Sean Bracken and David Duke and building a good lead. John Mason (Cycleways), Woods, McQuaid and Paul Reid (Finglas Ravens) then set about closing the gap, reducing it to 30 seconds by the 36 mile point and shortly afterwards receiving reinforcements in the form of Navan’s Derek Finnegan, Emmet Hogan (Galway Bay) and Denis O’Shea (Killarney). The latter slipped back shortly afterwards, leading to a nine-man front group once the chasers succeeded in closing the remainder of the gap.

Bracken has finished second and third overall in recent years, and with a number of other strong riders such as Woods and McQuaid present in the move, there was a degree of panic behind. A number of groups tried to bridge the gap, with Wayne Maguire (North Bucks) and David Martin (CC Giro) eventually succeeding. A little further back, a quartet comprising Sean Lally (McNally Swords), Andy Lakes (St. Tiernan’s), Brian Harris (Bray) and a notably-strong John Heraty (Staggs Lucan) dug deep in the face of the strong headwind and rode clear of the bunch. However, the group were clearly outnumbered by those up front and by the third passage of the finish line, the gap had grown to one minute and 45 seconds, with the bunch closing up fast on the four trapped in no-mans land. A stubborn Heraty tried to press on, taking Harris and Brett Nelson (St. Tiernan’s) with him, but the bunch reeled them in with eleven miles remaining.

From that point onwards the gap began to fall, with the strong winds sapping the strength and conviction of the leading group. With six miles remaining the gap was down to 23 seconds, enabling a small group to leap across from the bunch and inject some welcome strength into the tiring break. Lynch, Nestor, Eddie McMahon (Cycleways), Colm Crawley (Stamullen), Dylan Rafter (St. Tiernan’s) and the yellow jersey of Hardwick made it a total of 17 up front, and with Hardwick and team-mate Woods working hard to keep things together, they kept clear of the main bunch all the way to the finish line.

Here Lynch kicked hard to take what was an impressive second win of the day, with Crawley, Rafter and McQuaid next home and Harwick finishing safely in the group. Keith Bannan led the main bunch home some ten seconds later, while further back the remnants of the field were scattered over several miles as the strong winds took their toll.

With just one stage remaining Hardwick has a slender five second lead, but given Lynch’s form today he will be closely marking the Kanturk rider. A total of sixteen others lie within a minute of the jersey, and so the scene is set for what should be a gripping finale to the three day tomorrow. Sixty miles lie between Hardwick and the overall honours; it promises to be a fine showdown.

Dublin Skip Gorey 3 day, stage 3: 1, Daniel Lynch (Kanturk Credit Union); 2, C. Crawley (Stamullen M. Donnelly); 3, D. Rafter (St. Tiernan’s); 4, A. McQuaid (Emerald); 5, E. McMahon (Cidona Carrick Wheelers); 6, D. Finnegan (Navan Road Club) all same time

Overall: 1, Theo Hardwick (Killorglin Credit Union); 2, D. Lynch (Kanturk Credit Union) at 5 secs; 3, A. McQuaid (Emerald) at 13 secs; 4, S. Bracken (Usher IRC) at 19 secs; 5, B. Woods (Killorglin Credit Union) at 20 secs; 6, B. Behan (Cycleways Lee Strand) at 21 secs

Junior: Hardwick; senior 3: Bill Millar (Carlow RC); woman: Louise Moriarty (Leinster); Veteran: Bracken

(full results available at Seamus Shortall's website here)

McQUAID WINS STAGE ONE OF GOREY: (By Shane Stokes Apr 19) 

Emerald rider Andrew McQuaid is the first overall leader of the Dublin Skip Gorey Three Day, after a strong finishing sprint saw him win a three-man tussle this afternoon. McQuaid, Killorglin duo Theo Hardwick and Barry Woods, plus the Cycleways-Lee Strand rider Eddie McMahon had surged clear of a 31-strong breakaway with eleven miles remaining on the stage, and while McMahon succumbed to cramp, the other riders had established enough of an advantage to hold off the fast-finishing chasing group.

Although bright and mild, today’s 65 mile opening stage was marked by gusting winds which made things all the more difficult for the 166 riders who turned out and, with the ten female entrants getting a slender five minute head start, the speed was on from the drop of the flag in Brittas. Twenty-seven miles were covered in the first hour of racing, prompted in part by the successful chase of the women but mainly due to the efforts of aggressors such as Aidan Hammond (Orwell Wheelers), John Mason and Mark Cassidy (both Cycleways Lee Strand), who broke clear before Baltinglass and opened up a lead of twenty seconds. Sparking off a chase behind, the trio were recaptured but shortly afterwards Hardwick and Kanturk Credit Union rider Denis Lynch – who had highlighted his good form when he won the Stamullen GP senior 2 race last week – threw down the gauntlet. Remaining at the head of affairs over the long drag up through Hackettstown, they were eventually joined by a dozen riders while behind, the main bunch splintered into four separate groups under the pressure of the chase.

The first of these groups eventually succeeded in closing the gap and creating a 31-rider group up front, but the remainder of the field began what was a steady slide backwards. One minute ten seconds, two minutes, two minutes thirty seconds; the main field eventually finished over three minutes back, ending the aspirations of many riders who privately dreamed of winning the prestigious early-season race beforehand.

Meanwhile, those up front were fighting it out for the stage win and the chance to become the first overall leader. Just as the front runners and the chasing group were merging, four riders kicked clear on a short, steep climb eleven miles from the line, and opened up a substantial lead. McQuaid, Woods, Hardwick and McMahon dug deep to carve out what was a forty second advantage, with four miles remaining, but a strong headwind and some cat-and-mouse tactics hampered further consolidation of the gap. Jumping around, then stalling, the four became three when McMahon slipped back, while behind a small counter-attack comprising Dylan Rafter (St. Tiernan’s), Sean Bracken (Usher IRC) and Colm Crawley (Stamullen M. Donnelly) made inroads into their deficit and closed right up before the finish. Inside the final 500 metres it was McQuaid who showed his strength, galloping to what appeared to be an easy sprint victory over Hardwick and Woods, while behind Crawley led Rafter and Bracken home.

In all, thirty riders finished within half a minute of McQuaid and Hardwick, leaving the race right open going into tomorrow morning’s four mile time trial. And once the ownership of the yellow jersey is decided, he must then cross swords with his rivals in the afternoon’s sixty-mile road race. At this stage, seconds and fractions of seconds will count; it all bides well for a fascinating day’s racing on Easter Sunday.

Andrew McQuaidDublin Skip Gorey Three Day, stage one (Brittas-Gorey): 1, Andrew McQuaid (Emerald) 65 miles in 2 hours 38 mins 6 secs; 2, T. Hardwick (Killorglin) same time; 3, B. Woods (Killorglin) at 4 seconds; 4, C. Crawley (Stamullen M. Donnelly) at 9 seconds; 5, D. Rafter (St. Tiernan’s); 6, S. Bracken (Usher IRC); 7, E. McMahon (Cycleways-Lee Strand) same time; 8, W. Maguire (North Bucks Road Club) at 14 secs; 9, B. Nelson (St. Tiernan’s) same time

Overall: as above

Women: Equal First: Debbie Booth (Cycling Ireland); Marie Reilly (Cycling Ireland); Karen Bothwell (Leinster); Louise Moriarty (Leinster), all 65 miles in 2 hours 51 mins 23 secs.

Category Three: Philip Sinett (North Bucks Road Club) 65 miles in 2 hours 38 mins 20 secs

Junior: Theo Hardwick (Killorglin) 65 miles in 2 hours 38 mins 6 secs

Veteran: Sean Bracken (Usher IRC) 65 miles in 2 hours 38 mins 15 secs

(full results available at Seamus Shortall's website here) See Gorey Pictures Here

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