Wheelers Take Fourth In Final Delhi Stage

posted 8 Dec 2012, 08:17 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 10 Dec 2012, 04:18 ]
(By Shay O'Toole)   
As the saying goes “all good things must come to an end”, well the Tour de India 2012 has been more than good for Team Lakeside Wheelers with all five team members proclaiming it to be an experience of a lifetime. Another familiar saying would be “saving the best till last” well that’s exactly what the Mullingar lads did at the final stage of this prestigious international race.

This last race was staged in the very impressive surroundings of the Buddh International Formula 1 motor racing circuit outside New Delhi. Yesterday, the organizers arranged for all the teams to practice on the track and on arrival it was clear to see that everybody was gobsmacked by the sheer size of this arena. Once kitted out the riders went for several laps to familiarize themselves with the 5.14KM circuit and even the Wheelers mechanic and manager got to try it out. We have already submitted a plan to Dysart Community development committee for upgrading of our club league route!
Johnny Murray awaiting the start at the Buddh F1 circuit

Today, Sunday, we once again had early breakfast as the race was scheduled to commence at 11am. After all the usual preparation we were ready to go and with the heat touching 30 degrees it was always going to be a tough day on this hilly track. After the normal Indian style commotion that seems to be part of everyday life here the flag was dropped and the riders representing 18 different countries set off on the 25 lap race. Wheelers were all set for water and feed zone duty with Mick on the Start/Finish straight and Shay out the course on a slight incline with the soigneurs from Thailand and Germany for company. Johnny Murray led out the first few laps and was looking very comfortable as the rest of the Irish contingent sat in the bunch. Soon the attempts to get advantage started to happen with breaks flying off the front but yet again Wheelers were in the thick of it with Chris Reilly covering everything. 

Laps were being done in an amazing 7 minutes which considering the heat was a credit to our lads. The first break of any significance contained the ever reliable Con Collis of UCD with the chasing bunch being controlled by Astana of Kazackstan and the German continental team, LKT. As the laps ticked by the speed ramped up even more and now the pro guys were beginning to show and very quickly the race up front was between Astana and Germany. The chasing bunch was hammering after this duo and it contained Lakeside man Dan Clifford who was keen to show his sprinting power. However it was soon clear that the two leaders had enough of a lead to keep the chasers at bay and at the line it was Astana who just edged the white mark first with the German showing his disappointment by banging his handlebars in disgust. The sprint for third was now on for Dan but unfortunately an Uzbecistan rider pipped him but fourth in this talented field is a fantastic achievement.

On such a hot day, the effort that the Lakeside lads put in has to be commended and to each of them, both Mick and I say well done. You rode extremely honestly all of this series for Lakeside Wheelers and it was a pleasure to have taken this trip with you. Thankfully, we all finished the three races in one piece which was a big concern for Mick and I in support because, as we saw from the injured UAE rider in Srinagar, the Indian medical services can be slow, to say the least.

Now, with the business end of the trip over, we are packing and preparing for our journey home which starts at 3am tomorrow when we leave the hotel for Delhi airport. Once again we would like to say a huge thank you to everybody back home who assisted us in making this dream trip and also to everybody in Lakeside Wheelers who sent us messages of support. A special word of thanks to Mark and Kevin Monaghan for all their help with the blog and roll on India 2013!
Team Lakeside Wheelers line up along with the rest of the field before the start of the last stage.