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Cycling Ireland Highlights of the Year

21/12/2016

Highlights of the year in cycling


JANUARY


Kicking off 2016 was an announcement from 2013 Track World Champion Martyn Irvine, outlining his retirement. Fortunately this was short-lived, with his passion returning following a stint behind the wheel at the An Post Rás. He will now compete internationally again with the newly launched Aqua Blue Sport UCI Professional Continental Cycling Team.


The National Cyclo-Cross Championships took place in Tollymore, with fantastic racing across all categories in the picturesque offroad paradise of Tollymore Forest Park, Co. Down. A few weeks later David Conroy and David Montgomery competed in the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Heusden-Zolder in Belgium.


On the coaching front the Foster the Future Conference saw Cycling Ireland come together with Triathlon Ireland and Swim Ireland for an interesting and informative day for Irish coaches, those involved with nurturing the next generation of cyclists.


January sadly saw the passing of two significant figures in Irish cycling, Bert Slader and Donal O’Connell RIP.


FEBRUARY


The BMX National Team for 2016 was announced, with the development of top riders in the sport continuing to progress.


The National Junior Team had a great 2016, February saw them set in place some of the groundwork for the year, with a top class training camp with a holistic approach, addressing the whole rider.


Paralympics Ireland set the tone for the year, launching the inspiring #MoreThanSport campaign.


MARCH


The Track World Championships saw Ireland compete in London, with riders competing across endurance and sprint events. Following the performance of Shannon McCurley, Ireland qualified its first ever female track cyclist for the Olympic Games.


At the Paracycling Track World Championships in Italy Ireland stamped their mark on 2016, the Paralympic year, with medals galore over the weekend.


Easter weekend saw many of Ireland’s up-and-coming cyclists test their skills in road races in Ireland and overseas, and in track cycling Dublin Thunder competed in Los Angeles in the World Cycling League.


APRIL


Youth cycling was to the fore in April, with top racing in Rás na nÓg and a camp for the National Youth Academy in France. For the even younger cyclist, Sprocket Rocket was very active during Active Schools Week, with kids benefiting from Cycling Ireland’s skills course.


The Women’s Commission sent a team to compete in the prestigious 2016 Manx International GP Feminin in the Isle of Man, opening up opportunities for young riders for the rest of the season.


MAY


One of the highlights of the year was the hugely successful Emerald Enduro, part of the World Enduro Series, which took place in Co. Wicklow. Irish dominated the day, with Greg Callaghan, Leah Maunsell, Killian Callaghan and Robin Seymour winning their categories. With the Emerald Enduro confirmed again for 2017, it is worth putting it in your diary as a superb day out for cycling fans.





May is also when one of the most popular events on the cycling calendar, the An Post Rás, takes place. This year saw a big showing from the Irish riders, with Eoin Morton winning stage two, and Eddie Dunbar winning stage seven.



JUNE


In a big step forward for cycling in Ireland, Cycling Ireland and Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network formed a strategic partnership with the joint aim of promoting cycling and advocating for the development of cycling in the island of Ireland.



With the An Post Series again attracting thousands of cyclists across the five events in the series, run by the Sport Ireland Local Sports Partnerships, the Irish Paracycling Team were ambassadors for the An Post Tour de Burren.


Bike Fest once again was a huge success, with Cycling Ireland’s Family Cycling Festival offering activities for all the family. Splashes and smiles were certainly the order of the day!



Bike for Life is a wonderful cycling course which has started many on their own cycling journey, here’s a lovely example of how a group of cyclists documented their “Road to Connemara”.


The National Road Race Championships were a roaring success for host club Scott Orwell Wheelers, held in Kilcullen, with the cooperation of Kilcullen CC.



JULY


Ireland’s only Class 1 UCI event, the Dublin Track Cycling International, took place in the Sundrive Track in Eamonn Ceannt Park, with Irish riders coming away with seven medals



On the track again Ireland had a young talented team racing at the European Junior and U23 Track Championships in Italy, with Mark Downey sensationally winning silver in the Men’s Points Race, adding to the silver he won in this event as a junior two years ago. Xeno Young also impressed, qualifying for the bronze medal ride off, and finishing an eventual 4th in the Junior Individual Pursuit.


At the XCO MTB World Championships Ireland had a team competing, with David Conroy, James Curry and Gareth McKee flying the flag, with mechanicals unfortunately hampering the results. Both the Downhill and Cross Country National Championships also took place, with full results here.


Mountain Bike Fest
also took place in July, with Bike Park Ireland hosting Cycling Ireland’s first mountain bike festival for young riders. Such was the success, plans are already in place for next year’s event!



AUGUST


The Olympic Games stole the limelight for August, with Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche performing outstandingly to finish 13th and 29th in the Men’s Road Race. On the track Shannon McCurley was impressive in her heat and rep, just missing out on the semi-finals, as Ireland’s first ever female track cyclist to compete at the Olympics.



August also saw three time Olympian Robin Seymour win the rainbow jersey in the 45-49 age group at the XCO World Masters Championships in Val di Sol.



Elsewhere, in the cycling advocacy space, the discussion around the mandatory use of cycle
lanes
raised its ugly head again, with the Department of Transport back pedalling on a ruling brought to pass in 2012. We feel there will be a lot more happening with regard this in the New Year!




SEPTEMBER

The Paralympic Games were the talk of September, with the Irish Paracycling Team coming away from Rio with 5 medals, including two Paralympic titles, and numerous personal bests. This was the culmination of four years of hard work, and the team brought great pride to the cycling community.



An Post Rás na mBan
moved location to Kilkenny this year, with record numbers attending Ireland’s premier women’s international race. Rikke Lonne was the overall winner in the stage race that has been the springboard for many international cycling careers. Claire McIlwaine won the County Jersey, and Irish National Champion Lydia Boylan was the top rider with a British based team.


As a celebration of cycling An Post issued fabulous cycling stamps in September, which are available from the GPO.


On the road the European Championships took place in France, with Ireland entering a large team across Junior, U23 and Elite. In the Time Trials Ireland shone; Eddie Dunbar was 6th in the U23 event and Nicolas Roche 8th in the Elite race.


It was also in September that the Irish cycling community, in particular the off-road community mourned the passing of Richie Byrne, the ‘Godfather’ of MTB in Ireland.

 


OCTOBER


In October the Dublin Cycling Campaign coordinated the cycling community to organise the biggest Cycling Protest ever in Ireland, demanding a better investment in cycling from the government.


World Road Championships in Doha saw the Irish team compete in the incredible heat of the Dubai country. The heat did not affect Ryan Mullen who recorded a phenomenal fifth in the Elite Time Trial, and a superb ninth for Eddie Dunbar.



In the European Track Championships Anna Turvey stole the show with an incredible bronze medal in the Women’s Individual Pursuit.


Team Aqua Blue Sport
was launched with top Irish riders Martyn Irvine, Matt Brammeier and Conor Dunne named on the team.


The Offroad Commission entered a young promising team in the UEC Cyclo-Cross European Championships, with all riders finishing in the middle of the field.


Together with iDMe wristband Cycling Ireland are offering members a great offer on the safety ID bands, with members able to avail of the bands for just €4.50.


NOVEMBER


The winning ways of the Irish cyclists continued into November with Mark Downey winning gold in the Points Race in the Track World Cup in Apeldoorn. This brought to close an extremely successful few weeks in Irish cycling, where we scored 21 top ten results in less than a month.


In a ground breaking move it was announced that Enduro would be officially recognised by Cycling Ireland. This is a measure that has not yet been taken by other nations.


On an organisation front, the annual AGM took place, with Michael Mannix being appointed Honorary Treasurer and Carl Fullerton appointed to the Board of Cycling Ireland.


The annual Awards Night is a celebration of cycling in Ireland, with the 200 attendees enjoying highlights of the year, and winners being announced across all the Membership Award categories, three new inductions to the Hall of Fame, and special recognition awards being presented throughout the night.


DECEMBER


The big news of December was the retirement of international cyclist Caroline Ryan who has won medals on the world stage both on the Olympic and Paralympic programme.




For coaching enthusiasts out there, the Foster the Future coaching conference, in conjunction with Triathlon Ireland, was also announced, with it taking place in Athlone IT on the 25th February 2017.

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