Banbridge CC will once again field a team for the Tour of the North stage race at Easter. A mix of experience & youth, and with two former leader’s yellow jersey wearers within the team there will be a level of expectation that the team will be keen to once again leave their mark on the event.
Supporting the team this year is Cycleology of Armagh. An independent bike shop who has long supported local clubs and cyclists, we are delighted to bring them aboard the Banbridge CC team and have some of our riders piloting their bicycles.
Leading the team on the road is the multiple national champion, former race leader and stage race veteran Roger Aiken. Having ridden internationally in stage races on numerous occasions against the very finest in the world, Roger brings a wealth of experience and can never be underestimated for sniffing out a winning move and pulling a top result out of his deep bag of tricks.
Gareth McKee once again joins Roger on the team and is another who enjoyed the pleasure of wearing the race leader’s jersey at the event in 2015 when he won the opening stage, having beaten Dutchman Thijs Nijvelct in a two-up sprint. Also a multiple national champion Gareth’s specialty is off-road but has proven on multiple occasions he has what it takes to convert that talent onto the road.
First year under 23 John Buller returns to the race for his 2nd attempt at it having competed in last years addition. A double stage winner at the International Junior Tour of Ireland and points jersey wearer at the Tour of Wales, John knows he has a turn of speed that is hard to beat if he gets a clean run to the line and will be licking his lips if the opportunity should arise over the Easter weekend.
Guesting on the team for 2018 is Kevin McKinney from Armagh. A ‘man of the Ras’ and previous Ulster Champion, normally sporting the colours of Armagh City Cyclists, Kevin has shown great form already this season and was a key mover in last weekend’s Tour of Ards where he was active in the main break of the day – a skill he has shown on multiple occasions and earned him numerous top results on local roads. Stage racing highlights include a stage win on his way to 2nd overall at the Ras Dhun na nGall and 12th County rider overall in the 2016 An Post Ras.
Another guest rider for 2018 is fellow Armagh City Cyclists rider Peter Hughes. Peter is another fastman who will look forward to the sprints and alongside Buller could form a useful duo in the event of a bunch gallop. A relative newcomer to stage racing Peter will be keen to convert his victories at A4 & A3 level racing into a strong performance for the team.
Managing the team once again is Neil Teggart. As a rider Neil has competed at the Commonwealth Games in the Road Race and represented Ireland on multiple occasions in international stage races, including the Ras. Tactically astute with a deep knowledge in local road racing and what is needed to win, Neil is the well placed to steer the ship; his input and guidance adds considerable strength to an already imposing team.
The racing will commence this Saturday, March 31st, and concludes on Monday 2nd April. All stages will be based in Ballymena and details of the routes can be found on the events Facebook page. Stage estimated timings can be found in the route notes here.