This 68 km event was the eighth and final race in the 2016 Joe Daly Cycles National League. Twenty eight riders lined out in glorious sunshine, including several riders still in contention for overall league glory.
The race set off at a tentative pace, with the first 20 minutes peppered by several short-lived attacks. The break of the day was then instigated by Monica Marconi (Scott Orwell Wheelers) who gained a solo advantage of 400m on the bunch. Next to join her was Niamh Stephens (UCD), followed shortly afterwards by Roisin Kennedy (Arcane CT). This experienced trio combined forces, and after some early teething issues, settled in to a good, steady rhythm.
Kennedy, Stephens and Marconi in the break (Photo: John Hammer)
The bunch behind remained largely intact, apart from some unsuccessful efforts from Fiona Guihen (Irish Centre for Cycling) which distanced a handful of riders.
Well in to the second and final lap, the break had established a lead of only 2 mins 30 sec.
Over an hour after Marconi’s initial attack, Sinnead Oakes (de Ronde van Cork), Kate Earlie (St. Tiernan’s), and others took up the chase in earnest, and the break’s lead quickly plummeted to 1 min 30 secs.
Aware of the increase in tempo behind them, the work effort within the break became more erratic. Kennedy and Stephens were beginning to tire on the drags, and the three leaders had to weigh up their options. With only 5 km to go, and having been out front for three quarters of the race, the break was finally caught.
Oakes chases for the win (Photo: John Hammer)
Despite her significant contribution to the earlier chase, it was Oakes who powered up the final hill to take the bunch sprint.
League Leader, Claire McIlwaine (Phoenix CC) limited her losses with a fine second place, followed by a consistent Guihen in third. Michelle O’Halloran was first home from the promoting club, Lakeside Wheelers, with Eimear Harrison (Covey Wheelers) finishing first Junior.
Thanks to Paddy Doran for this video footage of the sprint.
- Sinnead Oakes (De Ronde van Cork)
- Claire McIlwaine (Phoenix CC)
- Fiona Guihen (Irish Centre For Cycling)
- Michelle Geoghegan (Scott Orwell Wheelers)
- Orla Montague (Dublin Wheelers)
- Maura Claffey (UCD)
- Michelle O’Halloran (Lakeside Wheelers)
- Nessa Rochford (De Ronde van Cork)
1st Junior. Eimear Harrison (Covey Wheelers)
Final Overall League Table, and a round-up article to follow shortly.