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Breakthrough Win For Maire Claffey At National Road Series

Breakthrough Win For Maire Claffey At National Road Series

UCD Cycling Club’s Maire Claffey scored a breakthrough Cycling Ireland National Road Series win at Round 6 of the event, in the St. Tiernan’s Cycling Club Laragh Classic on Saturday.

The win for the 29-year-old is a first in the league, Ireland’s premier road racing series, and could not have come at a better time, with Claffey set to lead UCD’s first team at international women’s stage race Ras na mBan from this Wednesday.

Her win came after several National Road Series placings this term, and after climbing the mighty Wicklow Gap twice. With the lead group whittled down to just four as they ascended to the finish, Claffey made her move, attacking a trio which included last year’s National Road Series winner Katharine Smyth, and present leader Grace Young.

Reflecting on the win, Claffey said: “The Laragh Classic is just such a tough race all round. I was really gunning to do well in it, and it’s even better to win. I mean, I just went for it. At about 800m to go, I knew I had a bit of a kick and I just dug in and gave it 110. I looked round and I had a gap.”

Based in Rathfarnham, she added: “I wouldn’t train on the route specifically, but this area is where I do most of my base miles, and I was out here doing a few hill reps about two months ago on that same hill. It's funny, you see it a lot differently when you're racing it.” 

Young, riding for STRATA3 VeloRevolution Racing Team, beat Ballymena’s Smyth to second, with fellow Ballymena Road Club rider Eileen Burns taking fourth, and visiting Team Boompods rider Ellen McDermott taking fifth.

The Men’s National Road Series race at the Laragh Classic went to series leader Conor Hennebry, who launched a similar attack on the final ascent, to cross the line alone. It means he is almost certain to land his second successive National Road Series title, despite the final round on September 22 offering double points.

“I’m delighted to win my second Laragh Classic,” he said. “The last time I won it was in 2016 when it was on a different circuit, and it was a hard race then, but it's probably a harder race now.”

Of the finale at the Cork Grand Prix, he added: “It’s down in Whitechurch in Cork. It’s the same or a similar circuit to the Munster Champs, which I won last week. Hopefully, I can keep the form for another couple of weeks and get another result there.”

Hennebry, riding for Team Dan Morrissey-MIG.ie-Pactimo, beat Powerhouse Sport’s Lindsay Watson and Liam Curley, riding for STRATA3 VeloRevolution Racing Team. Charlie Prendergast, who went into the race leading the Cycling Ireland Men’s Rankings, finished fourth after being in the break for much of the 87km test.

The Men’s and Women’s National Road Series will conclude at the Cork Grand Prix in Whitechurch on September 22, with double points available down to 20th position. The winners of each title, as well as the Team Classifications, will be decided there.

Men's Laragh Classic - Full Result

  1. Conor Hennebry Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo
  2. Lindsay Watson Powerhouse sport
  3. Liam Curley Strata3 VeloRevolution
  4. Charlie Prendergast Castlebar Cycling Club
  5. James Curry Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo
  6. Will Ryan Vitus Chill NRPT
  7. Donal Shearer Phoenix Cycling Club
  8. Mark Dowling Unattached
  9. Aaron Kearney EvoPro Racing
  10. Darnell Moore Caldwell Cycles
  11. James Davenport Strata3 VeloRevolution
  12. Jody Wright Phoenix Cycling Club
  13. Andy Maguire Bioracer-DHL-FR Services
  14. Colm Sheehan Blarney Cycling Club
  15. Kevin McCambridge Vitus Chill NRPT
  16. Cian May Lucan Cycling Road Club
  17. Chris McGlinchey Vitus Pro Cycling Team
  18. Conor Murnane UCD Cycling Club
  19. Luke Smith Bioracer-DHL-FR Services
  20. John Buller Bioracer-DHL-FR Services

Women's Laragh Classic - Prize Winners

  1. Máire Claffey UCD Cycling Club
  2. Grace Young Strata3 VeloRevolution
  3. Katharine Smyth Ballymena Road Club
  4. Eileen Burns Ballymena Road Club
  5. Ellen McDermott Team Boompods
  6. Agnieszka Wozniak Strata 3-VeloRevolution
  7. Monica Marconi Scott-Orwell Wheelers CC
  8. Caoimhe O’Brien Lakeside Wheelers
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