The Irish cycling season is well underway and the recent fine weather has led to some great early season racing. One man who has hit top form early with a superb run of result is Ballacolla native Derek Byrne.
At the Newbridge Grand Prix recently Byrne finished in second place behind Ronan Whelan of Dublin Wheelers in a bunch sprint which came after a climb to the last Kilometre which split the peloton and left Byrne in great position for the sprint. Eamon Lennon also lined out in Newbridge and had o good finish inside the top twenty.
A week later and Byrne was set for revenge and had made the Des Hanlon Memorial in Carlow one of his early season goals. Having trained on the circuit during that week, the notoriously hilly course was perfect terrain for Byrne. The race went to plan for Byrne as he stayed at the front of the race and out of trouble and on the very last climb of the day Byrne attacked the already small leading bunch. Going over the top of the final climb only three others were in touch.
The four then worked well and built a comfortable lead that was never in danger of being reeled in by the chasing pack. Derek continuously drove a hard pace on the way in and in the four man sprint to the line easily had the legs to take the win.
This win was enough to get Derek upgraded in time for Ras Connemara stage race where he will join Eamon Lennon, Keith Lambourne and Donie Walsh on the Laois team.