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2018 Irish National Cyclocross Championships Preview

10/01/2018

This weekend Leinster plays host to the 2018 Irish National Cyclocross Championships in Glencullen Adventure Park (The GAP) on Sunday 14 January 2018 hosted by Team WORC. The Championships are supported by BIKE7, Dr. Coy’s and FIXX Coffeehouse.


The weekend’s schedule brings together many different categories and age groups which includes ‘non championship’ support races taking place on Saturday and the main championship events taking place throughout Sunday.


There will definitely be newly crowned national champions in at least three events. Both current elite women and men champions Beth McCluskey and Roger Aiken are missing from the start list and previous junior winner JB Murphy has moved up a category.


Cyclocross continues to grow in popularity and stature each season and with a record number of entries for this year’s Championships that trend looks to continue. Ireland will be fielding a five rider squad, its largest team ever, for the forthcoming World Championships on 3-4th Feb in Valkenburg, Netherlands. The World Championship team will be named on Tuesday 16th January.


Elite Men



Several riders are in with a realistic chance of becoming national champion this time round. In previous year’s Roger Aiken had been dominant through the whole season but this season has seen several different riders winning rounds of their provincial leagues. Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) has more victories than any other rider this season. The current Ulster Champion goes into Sunday’s race in great condition after last weekend’s victory. “I’m really looking forward to the race and it’ll be a completely different race this year with Roger missing as everyone normally watches him.” Kinning added, “There will be a lot more guys going for it but I know how all the contenders race and there is a large pack of around ten guys who are in with a chance plus Darnell Moore who could surprise.





Dromore based David Montgomery has also had success this season in Ulster league rounds. The former An Post pro will be looking to capitalise on his season with a solid ride on Sunday, “I think it’ll be a furious first lap with so many strong riders in the field. It’ll come down to the rider who brings the best form on the day and should make for a really exciting race.




Wicklow’s David Conroy (Scott-Eurocycles.com) has been Belgium based for much of the season and will relish his first race on home soil for several months. U23 rider Conroy has competed in many of the season’s UCI World Cup races and has had quality racing. When asked about his chances of national’s success he said, “Personally I’m just hoping that once the race is over I know I’ve given 100% effort, that’s success for me regardless of the result. I don’t like to waste much time or stress on a race plan, but this being the nationals, luck can play a part too.” Conroy sees a number of riders in contention, “Looking at the start list I see perhaps five guys who are really consistent across cycling disciplines. You can never rule them out - Gareth McKee, Glenn Kinning, Richard Maes, Darnell Moore and David Montgomery are all very capable.


Elite Women


Current national champion Beth McCluskey misses this year’s event so it’s wide open. There have been several winners across all provinces this season. Last year’s runner up is American based Maria Larkin (The Meteor p/b Allied) who heads back home to try to win the championship that has so far eluded her. Larkin comes into the race having ridden solid rounds of the UCI World Cup in the USA and a top 10 in UCI events this season.


Speaking to Maria from her USA base this week, she said, “I see this race as the best opportunity for me to try and secure a national championship jersey - a goal of mine for the past four years. With two former champions not riding, anything can happen.


Larkin added, “I’ve competed in additional UCI races this year and feel stronger than in previous years, however, I'm at a disadvantage as I have no idea about the level of racing in Ireland every year. I'm just hoping to have a good race and to perform at my best, and hopefully that will be enough to take home the jersey.


I'd be on the look out for a good race from Fiona Meade, she was very strong last year and I was digging deep to drop her on the final laps. I've heard Lara Gillespie is an up and coming rider and I'd hope that no matter what her performance that she gets the chance to race the U23 women at Worlds. I think Meave Morrogh and Lisa Stapelbroek will also be good and have been keeping an eye out for their results this year. It's really a very wide open race with a lot of good contenders! Great for women's cyclocross in Ireland.


It’s a difficult race to predict but potential medalists on the start list include last weekend’s Kinning Cycles race winner Lisa Stapelbroek (Kenmare Cycling Club), Fixx Series winner Lara Gillespie (Scott Orwell Wheelers), Michelle Geoghegan (Team Jadan-Weldtite), Breda Horan (Orwell), Maeve Morrogh and previous road race champion Fiona Meade (Blarney Cycling Club).


Junior Men


One of the most highly anticipated of all the championship events is the junior event. The standard has been very high this season, particularly amongst the first year juniors. A record number of entries sees several juniors relishing to wear the coveted national champion’s jersey for next season. These include the current Ulster champion and Ulster Series winner Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles). Creighton has been challenging with the elite’s all season and has clearly singled out this race. Adam McGarr (Biking.ie) who took the Fixx series junior prize has also had a consistent season and will surely feature along with Belfast’s Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles). A surprise challenger could be Sean Nolan (Navan RC) who had a really good ride at the Ulster Championships before Christmas.


M40



Ireland’s most prolific off roader Robin Seymour (Team WORC) hopes to add yet another illustrious title to his name by repeating last year’s championship success. Seymour is also the current World Champion for his age category in XC MTB and barring any difficulty should hold off his compatriots to add another well-deserved title. With 64 starters and the biggest championship event numbers wise, the battle for the medals will be a great spectacle.

 


M50/M60

Current M50 champion Des Woods (Newly Wheelers) is in great shape and starts as race favourite. Woods has built up steadily through the season and seems to be hitting the championships in form at the right time. With a fairly large field of almost 40 riders, the racing is guaranteed to be exciting and the medals are open for the taking.


If you’re not riding, why not come and watch some really exciting racing with a festival atmosphere where the best cyclocross riders in the country will be battling it out for the right to become national champion.


Venue location


The venue will be Glencullen Adventure Park (The GAP), Ballybrack Road, Glencullen, Dublin 18.

Sat nav. co-ordinates: 53.222827, -6.225541



Full Race Race Schedule


Saturday 13 January 2018

 9am - 11am      
Youth Racing Under 6’s through to U12’s.
 12 noon Support race for senior, U14 and U16 categories.
 1pm - 3.30pm. Championship course open for practice

Sunday 14 January 2018 From Event


 10:15 M40 Championship Race
 10:16 M50 Championship Race
 12:15 Junior Championship Race
 12:16 Women Championship Race
 14:00 Senior men Championship Race

 

 

 

 

 

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