National Cycling Championships this weekend

Post date: Jun 20, 2016 8:30:16 AM

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 20th June 2016)

The 2016 National Cycling Championships take place next weekend in Kilcullen. Congratulations to Orwell Wheelers for finally getting there with this year’s event. For anyone who is not aware, this year’s National Champs were scheduled to be held in Clonmel but were cancelled due to financial difficulties. After a few sweaty weeks for Cycling Ireland, Orwell Wheelers in Dundrum undertook to host but their plans were doomed from the beginning. Initially, they set out to run the event in the Phoenix Park but the visit of USA Vice president, Mr Biden led to this venue being ruled out. Not to be deterred, they located a new route in the Wicklow Mountains but this was also scrapped to local residents making objections. Finally, Orwell, with the assistance from Newbridge CC have settled on a route in Kilcullen so on behalf of Lakeside Wheelers, best wishes with this major racing event.

Local interest in the Elite race on Sunday will be focused on the reigning champion, Damien Shaw of the An Post Chainreaction team and Eoin Lynch of DID Dunboyne. Shaw will be aiming to win back-to-back titles next Sunday but this will be extremely difficult to pull off, especially with a top class field entered. Team Sky rider, Nicolas Roche will be a clear danger as will four time winner, Matt Bramiere of Team Dimension Data. The latter showed some great form with a big breakaway ride in last week’s Tour of Switzerland which is one of the warm-up races for the Tour de France. However, as usual, Shaw will not be unnerved and has had some very good preparation himself in recent weeks. He came out of the An Post Ras with an excellent 5th place overall before going to the USA where he put in a big performance at the Philadelphia Classic. Following this he returned to Europe to ride the Tour de l’Oise near Paris in France just last Sunday competed in the Premier Calendar Beaumont Trophy in Newcastle, England. So, with some big mileage and several big climbs under his belt Damien is sure to give the Nationals his best shot.

Eoin has also had a good lead in to the Nationals with some excellent rides at his maiden Ras. He finished this tough, demanding race and speaking to him afterwards, he is already thinking of how to improve in 2017. On behalf of all at Lakeside Wheelers, best wishes to both Eoin and Damien in Kilculllen.

Damien Shaw pops the champagne after winning the 2015 National Champs in Omagh