Women's Intermediate League Round 1 2023
Gráinne O'Callaghan (Pinergy Orwell Wheelers) crosses the finish line to take victory in the first round of the Cycling Ireland Women's Commission Intermediate League 2023 at Dromiskin, County Louth. (Photo: Brendan Culleton)
Gráinne O'Callaghan took a classy solo victory in round one of the Women's Intermediate League at Dromiskin, County Louth on Sunday, 30th April.
The Pinergy Orwell Wheelers rider confirmed her status as one of the pre race favourites as she fended off a concerted and coordinated chase from the main bunch to take the spoils in the event promoted by the IVCA with the grateful assistance of Cuchulainn CC.Conditions were perfect as the bunch rolled out of St Joseph's GAA Club in Dundalk with 65km of rolling roads under a bright spring sky ahead of them.
Orla Hendron of Orwell Wheelers was among the most aggressive riders in the early skirmishes, the veteran star finally forcing a significant split inside the first ten kilometres in the company of team-mate Gráinne O'Callaghan. Breda Murphy of Marble City Cyclers soon bridged to the Orwell duo and the leading three started to eke out an advantage.
Hendron dropped back to the bunch as O'Callaghan and Murphy forged on though O'Callaghan's strength also cost Murphy her place at the front and she, too, was welcomed back into the main group.
The issue was in the balance approaching the halfway point as the chasers pushed on and O'Callaghan was almost reeled in. Then, as riders in the bunch started to look at each other and the race leader refused to capitulate, the gap started to open up again and this time there would be no way back.
By the time O'Callaghan made the final left turn for the run to the finish line the chasers had long since switched their focus to a sprint battle to decide the minor positions.
O'Callaghan raised an arm aloft to celebrate the victory, taking with it the first leader's jersey of the Intermediate League.
Behind her Mia Smith (OnForm Racing) powered past Marble City Cycles rider Breda Murphy to take second while Murphy's earlier efforts didn't prevent her from scooping the final podium spot. W40 National champion Suzanne White (Sorrento CC) took fourth from Zoe Lindsey of TC Racing with Orla Hendron taking the final points in sixth.
1. Grainne O'Callaghan Orwell Wheelers
2. Mia Smith On Form Racing
3. Breda Murphy Marble City Cycles
4. Suzanne White Sorrento (Master Champion WM40)
5. Zoe Lindsey TC Racing
6. Orla Hendron Orwell Wheelers
Next round: Limerick Racecourse, 7th May promoted by Greenmount CA
Enter here: https://eventmaster.ie/event/5GxKtQvsEz
Report by Declan Quigley
Photos: Brendan Culleton