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Ryan Mullen is National Road Race Champion

posted 29 Jun 2014, 08:06 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 1 Jul 2014, 05:29 ]
Ryan Mullen celebrates his national championship victory
(By Kevin Monaghan Sun. 29th June)   
Ryan Mullen can rightly claim the crown of king of the road, having swept the boards in Westmeath this weekend, winning the Under 23 time trial championships on Thursday evening, posting the fastest time of the night and crowning his weekend by taking the title of Irish National Road Race champion in Multyfarnham today with a minute to spare over fellow An Post Chain Reactions rider Seán Downey, who out-sprinted Páidi O'Brien of Osbourne Meats/The Edge.  

His win also earned him the Under 23 title.  This win is all the more impressive when you consider that he is just nineteen years old, was competing against a top quality field that comprised all the top Irish riders except Nicholas Roche and that he powered clear of a very strong breakaway in the penultimate lap to win in a brilliant solo effort by over a minute.

Paddy Hill Chairman of Westmeath County CouncilThe 2014 National Time Trial and Road Race Championships were hosted by Lakeside Wheelers in association with Grange Motors Toyota.  Today's road race championship event took place over nine laps of a punchy 19km circuit starting and finishing in Multyfarnham, taking in Ballinafid, Portnashangan, Lee's Cross and Crookedwood.  Thankfully, weather conditions were perfect with sunshine and little or no wind all day.  The circuit was in fantastic condition, thanks in no small measure to the efforts of Westmeath County Council in the days and weeks ahead of the event.  

The hundred-strong peleton was escorted from the registration area in the Community Centre to the centre of the village of Multyfarnham by the Mullingar Town Band and following some impromptu rider interviews with the top riders by master of ceremonies, multiple Rás cyclist and dyed-in-the-wool Meath man Gay Howard, the race got under way following the ceremonial drop of the flag by Chairman of Westmeath County Council, Paddy Hill and headed out on the first of nine laps of the energy sapping nineteen kilometer circuit.

Stuart Cox and Eoin LynchLocal riders among the hundred participants included Damien Shaw riding, for the Aquablue racing team, Eoin Lynch of the DID Team and Lakeside Wheeler's Stuart Cox.  The action started right from the gun with Dan Martin attacking up Ballindurrow (Piggery) Hill just outside the village.  He was soon reeled in and there followed several skirmishes over the course of the first lap before the main move took place with a strong breakaway consisting of An Post trio Seán Downey, Ryan Mullen and Jack Wilson, Paidi O’Brien of The Edge-Osbourne Meats, Dominic Jelfs Madison Genesis, Aquablue duo Bryan McCrystal and Neil Delahaye, Ali Macauley of Phoenix CC, Roger Aiken from Banbridge CC, and Stephen Clancy of Novo Nordisk, broke clear leaving most of the day's favourates back in the bunch.

This breakaway group settled into a rhythm and opened up a considerable lead on the chasing pack and  despite a number of counter attacks quickly built up a one minute lead over the chasers.  At the half way stage local rider Damien Shaw from the Aquablue team and Dan Martin broke clear of the peleton in an effort to get across to the break.  By this time the gap was around the two minute mark and despite some strong riding over the next couple of laps they only managed to reduce the gap to 1 minute 40 seconds after the sixth lap. 
Shaw and Martin chase down the breakaway
Shaw and Martin chase the breakaway

Behind Shaw and Martin at forty seconds, another group consisting of three riders - Ryan Sherlock, Mark Dowling of DID Dunboyne and another An Post rider Conor Dunne - had broken clear of the bunch.  Meanwhile the leading group were working well together, that is until the penultimate lap when a number of attacks were attempted before Mullen eventually broke clear on his own.  By the time he took the bell he had a lead of just under 30 seconds which he doubled in the last lap.  His joy was obvious as he celebrated his victory up through the village where a huge crowd had assembled to watch the day's proceedings.

Mullen's team mate Seán Downey took second place and the silver medal a minute later, out-sprinting Páidi O'Brien who took bronze. Mullen's win also conferred the title of Under 23 champion on him.  This U23 competition was a clean sweep for An Post Chain Reaction with Jack Wilson and Conor Dunne 2nd and third respectively.  An Post Chain Reaction also took the team prize.  Well done to local riders Damien Shaw, Stuart Cox and Eoin Lynch.  Shaw out-sprinted his chase companion Dan Martin to claim seventh place, Stuart Cox finished 59th and Eoin Lynch 64th - a great ride by Eoin who only recently upgraded to the category that qualified him to enter the championships.

Eoin Lynch leads the peleton into Multyfarnham
What a great day's racing it was for everyone involved. Following yesterday's sad events, it was good to be able to lift the mood somewhat and today's racing certainly did that.  Multyfranham was resplendent in the summer sunshine, the crowds turned out in force both in Multy and around the course, the cream of Irish cycling turned up to entertain us and Lakeside Wheelers turned up as usual to put on a top class event.

There are so many people and organisations to acknowledge that it's almost dangerous to do it, lest someone is left out but here goes and apologies in advance if I do...

To Shay, Joe and their organising committee, thank you so much for your six months of intensive project planning and hard work to make this weekend a reality.  A huge thanks also to all club members who turned out on Thursday, Saturday and today to help with marshaling, administration, registration, media work, traffic management etc etc. Thanks also to the Gardaí and Civil Defence who as always turned out in force and provided their usual professional, efficient service in what turned out to be particularly difficult circumstances on Saturday.  A special word of thanks also to the catering crew for keeping the troops nourished and for stepping up to the mark on Saturday to cater for the riders and their support teams as the waited for news on whether racing was going to take place.

Huge credit and special thanks is due to Westmeath County Council who worked closely and proactively with the organising committee right from the start to make this one of the best national championships for years.  The work carried out on the roads that made up the circuit in terms of surfacing, sweeping and verge trimming was exceptional and contributed greatly to the racing.  

We would also like to thank all our sponsors, without whose support the event could not have been hosted; Grange Motors Toyota, Mullingar Credit Union, Inland Waterways, Green Farm Foods, Texaco Robinstown, Exploring Ireland Vacations and Oscars restaurant.  The local community groups and residents in Multyfarnham - and of course Rochfortbridge for the time trials on Thursday - also pulled out all the stops to put on a super show over the weekend.  The weather gods were good to us on Sunday and the village looked fantastic.  There was no lack of entertainment, refreshments and activities available for spectators, race officials and riders alike.  Thanks also to the local clergy who kindly rescheduled their Masses over the weekend to facilitate the races.  Thanks also to Oliver Scally for going above and beyond the call of duty putting out the traffic management solution, local Multy man Liam Gilsenan for his help with loading and unloading barriers, Michael Needham Haulage for the use of his trailer for the finish area/presentations, Annebrook Hotel Mullingar for facilitating the race as HQ, businesses and residents on the Rochfortbridge and Multyfarnham circuits for their patience and cooperation during the races, all who decorated their shop-fronts, businesses, houses etc. which added hugely to he colour and atmosphere and to Multyfarnham and Taughmon schools (principals- Niall Brennan and Betty McCague Murphy) as well as St. Joseph's school in Rochfortbridge.

Finally to the riders and their support crews who turned out to entertain us and who put on a fantastic and colourful show and no little excitement.  It's great to see the best riders in the country up close and this weekend certainly showed them off to perfection. 

We hope everyone enjoyed the 2014 national championships.  It was a massive effort to stage it but we hope that everyone will agree it was worth it.  We'll put on the deferred Women's and Veterans' races later in the year and hopefully this will make up for the disappointment of having to cancel these events following the tragic accident on Saturday. 

Full set of results attached as a downloadable pdf file attached below.

Elite Men Podium
Elite Men's Podium National Road Race Championships 2014
Kevin Monaghan,
29 Jun 2014, 08:12