While most of the club’s racers were not involved in racing during the May bank holiday weekend, this didn’t mean that they had the weekend off and portions of this section took to the roads in training rides both on Saturday and Sunday of that weekend. However, while they were pacing the roads of county Wexford, both Martin Gill and Davy Walsh were competing in two of the major stage races on the racing calendar, namely The Tour of Ulster, and The Corkman, respectively. Martin rode well in the Tour of Ulster, which keeps his preparations in train for competing in the FBD Rás stage race around Ireland as a member of the county Wexford team. At the other end of the country Davy Walsh was racing the roads of county Cork as a guest of Dan Morrissey Carrick Wheelers. This race proved particularly successful for Davy, as he took second place in the second stage, a 16km time trial, and he took 4th place overall after 3 days of racing. However, Davy can consider himself exceedingly unlucky not to have finished this race at least in 2nd place overall, after succeeding, with a handful of others, of opening a gap of 1 minute 30 seconds on the yellow jersey in the final stage as a result of very strong and aggressive riding. However, the holder of the yellow jersey managed to rustle up enough support from other Dublin riders to chase down the break just a handful of kilometres from the finish, although Davy still managed to find the strength to take 7th place in that stage.
On Tuesday evening, some of the club’s riders were in action in the Slaney Cycling Club’s Novice/A4 league, and after riding with the scratch group in this handicapped race, Gianni Ponzi, Simon Lambert and Eoin O’Shea managed to take 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place respectively.
On Friday last Davy Walsh was back in action, together with Simon Lambert, in the Slipstream Cycling Club league in Gorey, in that race Davy took the sprint of a five man break to win.
On Saturday last Eoin O’Shea, Simon Lambert, Patsy McCaffery, Keith Cullen, Gianni Ponzi and Dave Allen travelled to Inch near Gorey to take part in the South East Road Club’s A4 race, a fund raising event in support of Team Wexford’s FBD Rás challenge. Here, after some fairly good team riding, the lads managed to get at least four riders in the lead group including Dave Allen, Patsy McCaffery, Keith Cullen and Gianni Ponzi who was best placed in 5th position.
Racing continued on Sunday when Davy Walsh and Conchubhar O Crualaoich headed to Wicklow to take part in the Shay Elliott Memorial Race, considered by many to be the toughest of all one-day races on the Irish calendar, which consists of 140km heading south from Bray into the Wicklow Mountains. While the lads didn’t manage to get into the prizes (Dave Walsh did take third place in the first sprint Prime after 12km) they did well to cover the distance in 3 hours 41 minutes, which gave them an average speed of 38kph, and that despite 1400m of climbing! Conchubhar and Davy were greatly appreciative of the help rendered by Pat Whitney and Stephen Kelly of Slaney in the Shay Elliott.
On a note of thanks, it must be said that local league races such a Slaney Cycling Club’s Novice/A4 league, Slipstream’s league races in Gorey, and the forthcoming South East Road Club’s league in Gorey/Arklow, are exceedingly important to the development of cycling in the county and Wexford Wheelers would like to thank all of those involved in the organisation of these. Indeed, our own ongoing Liam Bennett Time Trial League and the forthcoming Bike Shop League later in the Summer, also organised by Wexford Wheelers, help to fill out the calendar of local racing in the county.
Next week racers will travel to Roundwood in Wickow and Dungarvan for Open Races there. The race in Dungarvan is dominated by a long climb while the Roundwood race features ‘rolly’ roads which are often the type favoured by strong ‘power’ riders. These races are usually very tough and rarely end in a bunch sprint for victory.