Tour of Omagh: Stage 1 Report
A warm, humid evening greeted the riders on the opening stage of the 2019 Edition of the Tour of Omagh.
The race was to prove an exciting affair. The W3 group set of with a two-minute start on the W1/W2 group.
As the groups approached Drumquin the chase group had only taken twenty seconds from the W3 group.
This was all to change on the climb before Castlederg with the chase group closing the gap down to a matter of seconds as they approached the first of the Queen of the Hills.
The action on these climbs, and in particular Scraghey, proving crucial. At the bottom of Scraghey four riders Katherine Smyth (Ballymena), Maura Claffey (UCD), Lucy o Donnell (Kanturk) and Louise Hart (TC Racing) were to surge clear.
They were quickly joined by Eileen Burns (Ballymena), Yvonne Doran (Leinster) Hillary Hughes (Westport) and Nikki Taggart (Irish Women’s Commission).
These riders very quickly established a 1min 30 Second lead. Cycling Ulster the only team with no one rider in the break were leading the chase but to no avail.
This strong group were to push on and by the finish establish a lead of 3mins 20 Seconds.
Maura Claffey of UCD was to win the sprint just pipping the impressive TC rider Hart on the line. Junior Lucy o Donnell was to finish a fine third.
Nikki Taggart was to loose time on the lead group in the closing stages but in finishing just over two minute of the chase group will wear the new W3 jersey on tomorrow mornings stage.
On Saturday the riders face a 2.1 mile TT and then in the afternoon, the riders will venture towards Carrickmore and the mighty Malabhui (twice) before heading back towards Omagh.