Laois cycling club have been busy as the racing season enters its climax, and it is Derek Byrne who has been the most successful for the club thus far.
Byrne made the transition to the higher level of cycling look almost effortless and in his first three races at A3 had three top five finishes, and so as he headed to Clare recently for Ras Clar was on the verge of promotion to the highest level in Irish cycling.
On a perfect day for racing the action was quick to heat up, however the peloton remained in control and numerous breaks were easily pulled back. Byrne was happy to remain in the shelter of the peloton but that was until the main climb of the day, and with the prize of King of the Mountains on offer, he unleashed his trademark attack at the foot of the climb and eventually dropped the whole field to crest the summit alone.
With over 40km remaining and nobody for company Byrne sat up and waited for the main bunch to regain contact. This was a wise move and soon after the attacks began again and Derek latched on to a breakaway that soon had a sizeable gap.
The four man break worked well together all the way to the outskirts of Ennis where the finish was, and were never going to be caught by the peloton. In the sprint for the line Derek finished third behind Barry Sutton of DID Dunboyne and Paul Crowley of Mullingar.
The points earned for third and the King of the Mountains prize were enough to see Derek move up another level for the rest of the season, an outstanding achievement in his first year racing.
It looks like a very promising future in the sport for the young man from Ballacolla. As the racing continues in the weeks ahead with the final stages of the Midland League, training continues for those racing and the leisure cyclists anyone wishing to join the leisure cyclists can do so at anytime, for further information telephone Liam at 087 9887795 or alternatively find the club on facebook at Laois Cycling and Touring Club.