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Oakes and O'Callaghan Dominate Round 5 National Road Series

Oakes and O'Callaghan Dominate Round 5 National Road Series

CORK’S Sinnead Oakes on Sunday moved onto the Cycling Ireland National Road Series podium with a powerful win over league leader Eve McCrystal at the Mullingar GP.

Riding for De Ronde Van Cork, Oakes was winning the race for the third time, and becoming just the second rider to beat McCrystal in the series this year.

But it was not straightforward, the usual break never being allowed to go due to a determined bunch, and Oakes’s position being lost at the crucial final bend.

"I lost two bike lengths at the corner before the climb to the sprint," she said. "I had to put in a dig to get up with the front group. I left myself with a lot to do.

"I was absolutely petrified, I thought the line was going to come too soon. I knew I was gaining all the time, but for the first time I wanted the line to go away from me."

Luck was on her side as the line arrived when her bike was half a wheel up on McCrystal’s. Oakes was quick to thank team mate Nessa Rochford for her assistance during the race, and new coach Matteo Cigala, who has given her the kick she needed to finish the job.

"I started working with him in January and he's made such a difference," she said. "He identified early on that I'm a sprinter, which is news to me, and I've basically stuck religiously to what he planned. That includes a lot of sprint-focussed work."

Having finished fourth in round two, the Nenagh Classic, and second in round three, the Deenside Cup, Oakes’s win takes her tally to 80pts, moving her on to the podium.

Katharine Smyth, the winner over McCrystal at the Brian McNamara Memorial in round four, was absent on Sunday, but remains in second with 130 points, McCrystal on top with 190 - now unlikely to be caught by anyone but Smyth with two races left.

Oakes intends to be at both, the finale at the Friends First Laragh Classic offering double points.

She said: “Yesterday was probably one of the best races of the year. It was one of the hardest, loads of good aggressive riding. It was an out-and-out race.

“That’s why I ride the National Road Series; they are always the best women's races. I do them because of the quality of the field that it produces.”

In the Men’s National Road Series race, Aqua Blue Academy’s Mark O’Callaghan came home alone to beat Sean Moore and Dermot Trulock, UCD’s Eoin Morton finishing fourth.

He too is now on the overall podium, accumulating 89 points to move him up from 10th position. Mark Dowling still leads, with Matteo Cigala in second.

The penultimate round of the CYcling Ireland National Road Series will be hosted by the John Beggs Memorial Race in Bangor, County Down on August 12, with the double-points final event coming on Saturday, September 2 at the Friends First Laragh Classic in Wicklow.


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