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NEW MEN'S NATIONAL ROAD SERIES LEAD AS O'BRIEN & FYFFE WIN MULLINGAR

15/07/2019
NEW MEN'S NATIONAL ROAD SERIES LEAD AS O'BRIEN & FYFFE WIN MULLINGAR
YOUTH Olympian Aoife O'Brien and Angus Fyffe took top spots in round four of the Cycling Ireland National Road Series at the Grange Motors Mullingar GP on Sunday, but it was the minor placings that shook up the General Classification.

The closely fought and occasionally cagey Women's National Road Series race was taken in eye-catching fashion by 15-year-old Aoife O'Brien, the teenager who will soon be jetting off to Baku to contest the European Youth Olympic Festival. 

The local rider showed huge power in the sprint final - a 300m steep uphill drag - to beat a stacked field including National Road Series leader Grace Young (Strata3 Velo Revolution), who finished second ahead of Arcane Cycling's Nikki Taggart.

"I knew the course pretty well," said O'Brien, who rides for host club Lakeside Wheelers. "I was on Lucy O'Donnell's wheel coming up the hill, going for the Junior prize. I was probably about fifth wheel at the bottom of the hill and I just ended up first. I don't know how it happened - I just kept punching on until the top."

The Men's National Road Series race was animated by an early break of 10 riders, which began the third lap 55 seconds ahead of the peloton. Holding it from there was always going to be a big ask and by the time the bell rang for the final lap, only Caldwell Cycles' Angus Fyffe and Newry Wheelers' Gareth O'Neill remained out front, with 35 seconds on the bunch.

O'Neill fell by the wayside, but the hugely impressive Fyffe held strong as Liam Curley (Strata3 Velo Revolution) bridged across to him. The two would not be caught, Fyffe winning on the line by a bike length, the pair a full 16 seconds ahead of Darnell Moore, who finished third, and James Curry, whose fourth place elevated him to the top of the Men's National Road Series General Classification.

"The bunch were never more than a minute behind and with about 20km to go Gareth cramped up and Liam came across," explained Fyffe. "It was good to have a fresh pair of legs. With about 1km to go I sat in, tried to get a bit of a rest and managed to beat him in the sprint at the end. It was a good ride by him too.

"I wasn't banking on anything until about 5km to go. There are big flat roads on the circuit and the bunch could always see us until we got into the final 10km or so, where you turn into smaller roads with more corners. With about 2 or 3km left, we knew we weren't going to be caught."

With Curry leading the Men's standings, Grace Young continues to wear the Women's Spin 11 Leaders' jersey. Round five of seven will take place at the John Beggs Memorial Road Race in Banbridge on Saturday, August 10.

The National Road Series races at the Mullingar GP were the last events being assessed by selectors seeking to build teams for the Kreiz Breizh Elites Road Races in France next month. Ireland's Men's and Women's teams will be announced later this week.
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