With registration now closed for Round 5 of the Cycling Ireland Road National Series, we take a preview of what to expect from the action this Saturday in Dromore.
If the start list for the Elite men’s field is anything to go by, we are in for a treat! Local fans will no doubt be excited at the prospect of seeing Matthew Teggart (Wiv-SunGod) and John Buller (AC Bisontine) back in action on home roads. A home win won’t come easy however with very stiff competition from a number of other in-form riders. 2022 Rás Tailteann Champion Daire Feely leads a substantial squad from the well drilled All human/VeloRevolution Racing Team which also includes Mark Dowling who has won on this circuit before.
Luke Smith of Moynalty Cycling Club has also won here before as a Junior rider and has racked up a number of wins over the last few weeks, he will be hoping to continue that winning streak here. Aaron Wade (Team U Cube 17) has also been showing fantastic form of late, collecting a fantastic victory at the French National Elite GP Christian Fenioux-Souvenir Gilles-Malard on Sunday past. Recently crowned European Gran Fondo Champion, Matteo Cigala, can never be written off, and has come very close on this circuit too, so will chasing another big win on Irish soil.
Fast finishers such as Odhran Doogan (Team Caldwell Cycles) and Conor Murnane (UCD) will have to study the final km profile very closely if they are to take advantage of their finishing speed, however it will likely come down to who still has the legs after a hard 128km in the Co Down hills.
The Women’s National Series race also delivers on the big names. Irish Cycling legend Eve McCrystal is the stand out name on the start list, having just claimed her sixth World Championship title in Canada last week with tandem partner Katie George Dunlevy. How that form will transfer and how much celebrating has been enjoyed by the Bellurgan rider is as yet an unknown, but Irish cycling fans will be delighted to see her in action at home.
Former National Road Race Champion Lara Gillespie of UCD has made a welcome return to form and has the class and ability to take her first victory in Dromore. Should the women’s racing stay together the speed of Irish track international Orla Walsh (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar) will be feared by all, however the likes of VC Glendale’s Darcey Harkness will be pushing the pace on the hills to split things up.
There’s certainly plenty of quality on offer in the entrants, and with a challenging course that has a habit of drawing out the form riders it looks set to be another day to remember on Co Down!
You can now download the Event Information Guide here.
Elite & Junior Men – National Series
Elite & Junior Women – National Series
Senior Men A3 – Support Race