In an interesting change, this year Ireland’s elite women’s National Championship road race will take place on Sunday 26th June in Kilcullen, Co. Kildare, the same day as the elite men, instead of the day before the men’s race in previous years. Excitingly, in another first, it will also be filmed by TG4 for broadcast later in the month. Race entry is open to Irish women at home and abroad who would like to be part of one of the most iconic races in the Irish racing calendar, won by British-based WNT team’s Lydia Boylan last year and by domestic rider Fiona Meade of Blarney CC in 2014. Currently there are 34 riders entered and the entry deadline has been extended to this coming Monday 20th June. Race registration is via the Cycling Ireland portal.
The women’s National Champs is a great opportunity to showcase the quality of Irish riders and women are encouraged to enter and be a part of the most anticipated race of the year. The race has already attracted Ireland’s top domestic riders, as well as Irish riders from across the globe. A race preview will be published on womenscycling.ie next week, after the deadline closes.
A hotly contested accolade in previous years has been the team prize, won by Phoenix CC for the last two years running. For this year’s champs, so far only one club has qualified as a team of at least 3 riders, falling short of the minimum of three teams required to contest it. It would be a tremendous pity to forfeit this prize, so clubs are encouraged to alert all their eligible riders to the upcoming entry deadline on Monday.
The National Championships, Ireland’s flagship cycle racing festival taking place from 23rd to 26th June, is a series of time trials and road races for elite women and men, and includes Masters categories. The deadline for the TT closed on Thursday, so we now know the race will see 11 women fight it out to become the 2016 National TT champion. There will be a separate preview of this race later in the week.
The women’s National Championship road race will consist of three laps of a rolling 31km circuit, just outside the County Kildare town of Kilcullen and will kick off at 9am on Sunday. Most of the route will be familiar to anyone who’s ridden Naas CC’s open TT, but the champs course includes a diversion to take in a narrow serpentine climb up Brewel Hill followed by a fast descent, which is very likely to prove to be a defining point in the race.
The organisers, Scott Orwell Wheelers, have had to contend with a number of substantial obstacles over the last number of months, which saw them having to change location twice in quick succession. They have shown tremendous resilience in battling through the challenges and have managed to now set up what will inevitably turn out to be a very exciting showcase of women’s road racing in Ireland. We look forward to it with great anticipation! Tune in next week for the race preview.