It was another lovely evening for cycling on the N7 this evening. The bright weather returned, the winds slackened and the competitors came out in big numbers to support the 2nd race of the Nenagh Summer League. 63 cyclists signed on for the race, making it a record turn out for the league.
Today’s race was a very exciting one and also a very close one as the handicaps between the 3 bunches were almost perfect. All 3 bunches were on the final hill together with a few seconds separating the first and second bunch, with the third bunch another few seconds back from that.
The first group took off shortly after 7:00pm. This bunch was a lot larger this week so the 6 minute handicap was looking very generous indeed. If that bunch could work well together then they would never be seen again. Orders were to not dump half the bunch out the back straight away and it was great to see most people make it the whole way round in the bunch. Give yourself a pat on the back cos it sure ain’t easy!
Six minutes later the second bunch set off in pursuit. There were some strong cyclists in this large bunch so they only received a 3 minute head start on the back bunch. Would that be enough? The previous week it proved not to be, but the bunch seemed to work a lot more smoothly today and the gap was only falling slowly.
At the turn around point, no groups had merged. There were still sizeable gaps between each group. The back bunch were hoping that the groups ahead would fade in the 2nd half, but with a slight tail wind behind them, the two front bunches pressed ahead well. There was no time for any break away attempts from the back bunch as it was all hands on deck to try and reel the groups ahead in.
A mile out from the finish and things were getting very close. As we sped towards Birdhill each group were within touching distance. The back group pushed hard to the round about but had plenty of work to do going up the final hill. In the end, the gaps were just too big. Tommy Hanrahan, Emmet Murphy and Shane Scully led the back bunch to the line and over took most of the other two bunches but there was no stopping the lads at the front of the first bunch who held on for the win.
The final battle came down to the wily vet vs inexperienced youth. Nenagh CC youth cyclist Seán O’Neill came oh so close to winning but near the line was passed by former Rás legend Gearóid Costelloe. We are not sure who came 3rd just yet. We will have photos and the video finish online sometime tomorrow. We hope everyone enjoyed the race – see you all again next week.
Thank you to our marshalls – Edward Gleeson, Andy McLoughlin and Ian O’Halloran.
1. Gearóid Costelloe
2. Seán O’Neill