Derek Byrne judged his effort perfectly to take the victory in the 2012 Laois CTC Club Cup.
This is an event where the racing and leisure cyclists from the club come together to pit themselves against each other, with the leisure cyclists getting a head-start to increase their chances of keeping ahead of the more serious club riders.
Saturday turned out to be a perfect day for racing. The early morning fog had lifted by the time the riders set out, and with dry roads and light winds, a high speed event was guaranteed.
After the initial warmup lap, the leisure cyclists set out with a two minute head start from the start line in Ballymacken. Once the racing group got going, Derek Byrne, Donie Walsh and Eamonn Lennon set a fierce pace from the start, and by the time the group got to the first climb on the Timahoe Road out of Portlaoise, it had splintered into two with Derek, Donie and Eamon pulling away from Angelo O’Connor snr, Jim Fanning and David Walsh-Kemmis.
Most of the leisure group escapees were reeled in before Money Cross, and from there it was a high-speed chase down into Stradbally.
David had joined forces with Angelo O’Connor jnr, and the two of them attempted to make in-roads into the gap to the front three. The last two leisure riders were caught just before Stradbally, and after that it was just a case of seeing if either Donie or Eamon could break Derek on the climb of the Rock hill.
Despite a joint effort, Derek proved too strong, and pulled away over the top of the hill to solo in for his first win in this competition. Donie finished a close second, and David managed to reel Eamon in on the climb, get past him 300m from the line and hold on for bronze.
Jim and Angelo jnr came in next followed by a very strong Rafal Wolny. Liam McGrath, Pat McGurk and Paddy Monaghan made up the top 10, with Paddy being unlucky to suffer a puncture on the road into Stradbally.
Results (Top 10):
1. Derek Byrne
2. Donie Walsh
3. David Walsh-Kemmis
4. Eamon Lennon
5. Jim Fanning
6. Angelo O’Connor jnr
7. Rafal Wolny
8. Liam McGrath
9. Pat McGurk
10. Paddy Monaghan
Laois CTC’s winter training spins will be taking place every Sunday for the next few months. There are great numbers turning out at the minute, so if you’d like a friendly group to go cycling with, please come along.
For more details, visit http://www.laoiscycling.com, or see the twitter feed @LaoisCTC
See this week’s Leinster Express for extensive photographic coverage. Now on sale on Tuesdays.