The last race of the Nenagh Summer League took place yesterday evening on what was a tough evening for racing. The strong winds and heavy showers made it a tough slog. Thankfully the race went off without a hitch and it proved to be a great evening’s racing. Tough out.
This race was a dry run for the Tipperary County Championships which take place next Tuesday at 7:00 at Birdhill. We had 25 cyclists on the start line which meant we only had 2 groups on the road. A 10 minute handicap was given between the groups. This was to take into account the increased distance which was now at 60km. The handicap worked out perfectly in the end with the front few only being reeled in with 8km to go. It all added to what was a very tactical race.
Both groups rolled out from Birdhill shortly after 7. With a strong tailwind, both groups flew into Nenagh. The gap between the 2 groups was very big at the turn and questions were being asked whether we had messed up big time with the time advantage. Fair play to everyone in the chase bunch as everyone chipped in with the rolling all the way to Nenagh and back to Birdhill. Once back in the village the ceasefire was over and the attacks begun. First to go was Con Doherty but that was reeled back in. The break of the day went next with Matty Kennedy going off the front. He was soon joined by Denis Allen and they opened a 30 second gap quite quickly.
The chase from the bunch behind was being hampered by Nenagh CC who had a man in the break. On the 2nd lap of the Ballyhane circuit Ronan Costelloe did manage to get across to the lads on the climb. The gap was at about 20 seconds as the bunches made their way onto the final Montpelier / Daly’s Cross circuit. Attack after attack went away from the chase bunch from the likes of Peter Leahy, Con Doherty and Darren Allison but each was chased down by Shane or Kenneth from Nenagh CC. Just before Montpelier, Shane jumped across to the group ahead. There were now 4 lads out in the break but group 1 were still to be caught.
video of the 3 man break ahead of the chase on Ballyhane hill.
Coming into Daly’s Cross, the 4 lads in the break caught what was left of Group 1. Luckily for Shane and Matty it consisted of 4 Nenagh CC riders – John Gleeson, Donnchadh Floyd, Will Rymer and Will Killackey. There was a strong tailwind all the way back to the finish in Birdhill so the pace was sky-high. The front lads were trying their hardest to stay away from the chasing main pack. With 3km to go it was clear that they would stay away so the attacking began.
Ronan Costelloe was first to try to escape but he was chased down. All the way into Birdhill, various riders went off the front. Nenagh CC were trying to work the 2 lads over but Ronan and Denis were having none of it. With 300m to go Shane went for the win but he was caught by both Ronan and Denis before the line with Ronan getting up for the win. The rest of the main group were scattered all over the finishing straight. It wasn’t long either before the chase bunch crossed the line. An average pace of close to 42km per hour for what was a pretty tactical race tells you how tough it was out there.
1st – Ronan Costelloe
2nd – Denis Allen
3rd – Shane Scully
Thanks to all our marshals on the evening especially those from Birdhill who came out to help and cheer on the racers. It made for a very safe race on what was less than ideal conditions for racing. The post race refreshments in Cooper’s pub were very much appreciated. Cocktail sausages, chicken, sandwiches, buns, biscuits, tea, coffee and plenty of shite talk were on the menu.
Video – sprint finish – so close! Denis has put in a formal complaint to the UCI.
The Summer League is now over, go in peace to love and serve the Lord Eamon.
Next Up: the Tipperary Championships take place next Tuesday at 7:00 at Birdhill.
If this dry run event was anything to go by, the champs are going to be a very aggressive race.