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Tough Day Out In Carlow

posted 22 Mar 2011, 15:16 by Kevin Monaghan
By Sarah Piner
What a lovely day for a race in Carlow, considered to be the hardest one day event next to the Shay Elliott a group of brave wheelers headed off with a little apprehension! They were right to as the A1 – A2 race consisted of 150km, A3’s 110km and A4’s 60km, there were no real flats you were ascending or descending.
It was clear to see that the Wheelers were used to riding the flats around Mullingar with no podium results to the usually very successful team. We drifted back in small groups between 3 – 4hours after the race had started but there were some real positives to take from the day!

It was the turn of our A1 and A2 riders to show how strong they are and although they didn’t finish in the lead group they were only a couple of minutes back in the chase group. I would estimate that 30 riders pulled out of this race as you could see them turning back on the road, its difficult to write about just how hard of a race this was. 1 lap was hard, 2 unbearable but 3 I can only imagine! The course was for the small hill climbers which makes Steven Franzoni’s ride that day even more of an achievement. Steven would have one of the strongest sprint finishes in Irish racing and would agree he not well renowned for his hill climbing. So our fastest wheelers on Sunday Damien, Steven and John only dropped from the lead group 130 km into a  150km race and rode hard to keep their time gap down at the line to a matter of minutes.

So the A1 A2 race started off with 128 riders, some of the best full time cyclists in Ireland racing professional races around Europe and we had 3 inside the top 30, that is something our club should be very proud of. I can remember 5 years ago in Ballinrobe when we would be happy to have someone finish inside the top 50 of a relatively easy race! That is progress…

Steve Franzoni - pictured in Last Years Mullingar 2 Day - on his way to becoming an A1 rider