The first race of the Nenagh Summer League kicked off on Thursday and it turned out to be a top quality race with high speeds and big numbers. An average pace of 44.4 km/hour for the 38km route showed just how fast the first race was. Usually the first race of the season is tame enough but there was no hanging around here. If we keep this level of effort up we may beat the course record of 45.3 km/hr from a few years ago.
There were 43 cyclists on the start line and that led to 3 big groups on the road. There was some great riders in each of the 3 groups so the handicaps were kept relatively low in comparison to last year at 0, 3 and 5. Even with the handicaps being so low, the first group were only caught with 2km to go. That was a great effort by all in that group. The middle group were only caught late on too so they were clearly motoring as well.
The scratch group took off at a ferocious pace with the group lined out in single file for the first mile or so. It settled a little and this allowed the large group of about 15 riders to start rolling through. It was great to see 9 Nenagh CC riders in that top group mixing it with some top cyclists on the national road scene. The pace remained high with the likes of Paul Kennedy, Aichlinn O’Reilly, Con Doherty, Peter Leahy, Shane Scully, Ronan Costelloe, Tommy Hanrahan and Mike Browne putting in a lot of work to close the gap.
At the turn around point, Group 1 were well ahead still and it looked doubtful whether they would be caught. Group 2 were within touching distance but they managed to stay away until the hill at the Yellowbridge. They just managed to get over the top before being joined by some breakaway riders from the scratch group. The breakaway came to nothing as the rest of the scratch group soon bridged across. The bunch was quite large now and it was looking like it was heading for a sprint finish. All the bunch had to do now was catch Group 1 who were still out ahead.
1km before Birdhill and the 3 groups had merged into one. It was now a case of who could get their sprint on. The finish today was at its lowest point on the ramp (about half way up). It was still far enough to thin the final sprint group down. Fastest on the night was Paul Kennedy from Newcastle West. He was followed over the line by Mike Browne and Tommy Hanrahan from Nenagh CC.
Thanks to everyone for getting this league off to a great start. Please help spread the word around. We are looking to create a top quality, high-speed race and need your help to do that. Thanks also to our marshals Bertie Sherlock, Sinead Kennedy and Gillian Mounsey.
Next up: Nenagh Summer League Race 2 – Thursday, April 14th.
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