Aug
2
2017

Tipperary Road Race Champs – Race Report

Daniel Bresnan is the new county champion after being the first Tipp person over the line in yesterday evening’s keenly contested county championships in Birdhill. After 60km of hard racing and a ridiculous average pace of 44.5km per hour, it was actually Westport’s Con Doherty that crossed the line in 1st place in a bunch finish with Daniel coming in 2nd and TJ Hickey getting up for 3rd place. Denis Allen took home the junior prize and Niamh O’Dwyer was first in the female race. Our A1 champion is Daniel Bresnan, our A2 champion is PJ Collins, our A3 champion is Seán Molloy and our A4 champion is TJ Hickey. Winners of the team prize were Nenagh CC with John Gleeson, Matty Kennedy and Will Killackey the top 3 scorers. Thanks for the huge support on the evening by all the Tipperary clubs. Now let’s have a look at how it all unfolded……..

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58 riders descended on Tipperay and Ireland’s cleanest village looking to clean up in the prizes (wow that’s top quality writing and pun creation) and perhaps take home the coveted Tipp Champ plaque. The weather was looking good, the post-race refreshments were looking refreshing, the marshals were in place; all we needed now was some blood, sweat and tears for an hour and a quarter from the competitors. There were 3 large groups on the start line with generous handicaps of 0, 4 and 7. Early on, it looked like the scratch group had their work cut out to reel in the groups ahead, but then this race exploded and became the ‘Tale of the Tandem’.

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The A4 bunch was the largest on the road and they set to work straight away and set a good speed into the roundabout in Nenagh. Behind, the A3 bunch weren’t quite pushing it as hard as they could and the A1/A2 bunch were closing in. At the turn the gaps were: A4 bunch – 3 mins – A3 bunch – 2 mins – A1/A2 bunch. There was still a 5 minute lead from front to back.

Previous experience would tell us that this sort of gap would last until very late in the race. However, after the turn, the tandem of Peter Ryan and Seán Hahessy went to the front of the A1/A2 bunch and drilled it. The A1/A2 bunch was lined out behind them. This was like the Rás and it wasn’t long before wheels were being dropped. The 7th man in the line dropped a wheel and the front 6 of Con Doherty, Matty Kennedy, PJ Collins, Dermot Radford, Daniel Bresnan and Aichlinn O’Reilly were away with only Shane Scully managing to bridge across on the small hill outside the nursery.

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And that was that; the remainder of the A1/A2 bunch were out of it. They had missed the train and a train it certainly was as the tandem proceeded to break every KOM on the route on the way back to Birdhill (bar the motor paced ones!) and this is a route we use for our Summer League so the KOMs are near impossible to beat. What’s more, this was all done into a headwind!!! The few lads directly behind the tandem were clinging on and didn’t even realise that half their bunch were gone. Needless to say, the A3 bunch were caught (at the Yellowbridge) and the gap to the A4 bunch had come down to a little over a minute by the time we got back to Birdhill and onto the Ballyhane circuits.

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The hills and what looked like a puncture took the wind out of the tandem’s sails. It gave others a chance to start plotting their escape routes. Breaks started to go with Ronan Costelloe and Aichlinn O’Reilly the most aggressive. Nothing was sticking and with the A4 bunch still a little bit up the road, the chase bunch settled for chasing them down. It all came together as everyone exited the Ballyhane circuit on to the Montpelier / Daly’s Cross circuit. With over half the A1/A2 bunch around 2 minutes behind, this led to it being an A3 and A4 dominated bunch. There was an upset on the cards if the A3s and A4s could just contain those looking to off the front.

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Break after break was thrown in over the last 15km of this race. The Nenagh CC trio of Shane, Matty and Darren Dunne were constantly off the front. They were joined by Con, Aichlinn, Ronan, Denis Allen and Dermot Radford. It was getting very frustrating out there as few breaks even got 5 seconds up the road. The race had entered negative town and it was soon pretty obvious that the race was going to come down to a mass bunch sprint finish.

The two most promising breaks on the way back to Birdhill were first from Shane Scully heading out of Daly’s Cross (tis fair demoralising looking over the shoulder just to see the bunch lined out chasing you – hows about breaking over instead of dragging the bunch back?!). The other promising break was from Ronan Costello who went late and got extremely  close to the line before being swamped by the bunch.

The final sprint was quite deceiving as you could see the flag from a long way out, but it was slightly up hill and a lot of people were going too early and dying before the end. The man who timed it just right was Con Doherty who blasted off the front of the bunch to take a fine sprint victory with Daniel not far behind. It made for a great spectacle for the crowd, but sorting out who came where in the county competitions would prove be a pain in the neck!

Video – Sprint Finish

The remaining A1/A2 bunch came in over 2 minutes later with Bobby Coleman taking victory in the sprint. To say they weren’t overly happy is a bit of an understatement!! It led to some good natured banter at the end as everyone headed in for some tea & sandwiches in Cooper’s Pub, where Daniel Bresnan managed to excel himself again in the chicken and cocktail sausage eating competition.

Thanks to all our marshals and ambulance service for helping out and thanks to Cooper’s Pub for accommodating us. A full list of the results is below. That’s it for 2017 we hope to see ye all back in Birdhill once again in 2018.

Top 12

  1. Con Doherty – Westport Covey Wheelers
  2. Daniel Bresnan – Tipperary Wheelers
  3. TJ Hickey – unattached
  4. PJ Collins – Raparee
  5. Seán Molloy – Trinity CC
  6. Nanno Vuyk – North Tipp Wheelers
  7. John Cahill – UDCC
  8. John Gleeson – Nenagh CC
  9. Matty Kennedy – Nenagh CC
  10. Dermot Radford – Tipperary Wheelers
  11. William Killackey – Nenagh CC
  12. Denis Allen – NWCC

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Female prize – Niamh O’Dwyer      Junior – Denis Allen

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Winning Team – Nenagh CC 28 points

John Gleeson, Matty Kennedy, William Killackey

A1

  1. Daniel Bresnan – Tipperary Wheelers
  2. Dermot Radford – Tipperary Wheelers
  3. Shane Scully – Nenagh CC

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A2

  1. PJ Collins – Raparee
  2. Matty Kennedy – Nenagh CC
  3. Tommy Hanrahan – Nenagh CC

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A3

  1. Seán Molloy – Trinity CC
  2. John Cahill – UDCC
  3. Pat Ryan – UDCC

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A4

  1. TJ Hickey – Unattached
  2. Nanno Vuyk – North Tipp Wheelers
  3. John Gleeson – Nenagh CC

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