The Phoenix trio of Judith, Julie and Therese won the team prize in the National Championships Womans Road Race at Multyfarnham, Mullingar Sat 20th Oct. This is the second year in a row that Phoenix has won the title in the woman’s road race, last year the winners were Judith, Karen and Therese. The race was won by Fiona Meade, Blarney CC.
On the 14th of June Phoenix hosted the Bobby Crilly Classic, a race that finishes on top of Divis Mountain. The A1/A2 race was won jointly by Ali McAuley and Mike Millar. The A3 race was won by Rory Maguire who finished on his own over a minute and a half ahead of anyone else. Luke Ireland finished third in the A4 race. You can read reports on the Cycling Ulster site.
Ali and Mike near the finish of the Bobby Crilly Classic
Rory Maguire well ahead in the Bobby Crilly A3 Race
On the 15th it was the Ulster Championships in Ballyliffen, Ali and Rory both got medals, Ali was second in the Senior race and Rory 3rd in the Junior race. To add to this Judith Russell was 3rd in the womens race and Sean Hargan won the masters race, a great weekend for the club.
A week later at the Groucho GP in Richhill, Mark Short won the A4 race and Rory Maguire was 3rd in the A2/A3 race. Rory followed this the next day at the Noel Teggart Memorial in Banbridge by coming 4th. In the main race Alex Donald came 3rd completing a great couple of weekends for the club. Ali McAuley and Mike Millar missed the race as they were competing for the Cycling Ulster team in the prestigious Beaumont Trophy race in England.
Mark Short winning the A4 race at Richhill
Ali McAuley in the Beaumont Trophy race riding for Cycling Ulster
After 8 tough stages our team finished 3rd in the County competition. A group from the club cycled from Belfast to Skerries to see the finish and cheer on our riders. Lots of other club members made their way down by car to join in the celebrations. Our first team in the Rás nobody anticipated they would do so well. Congratulations to the riders, Mike Millar, Brian Stewart, Ali MacAuley, Daniel Stewart and Alex Donald, the manager Cormac McCann and the backup team, Joe Henry, Geoff Hewitt, and Anne Helion. Here are the team on the podium at the end of the race.
Wednesdays stage four, on paper at least, is the most difficult stage in this years edition. 183.6km long, with ten categorised climbs, including two category two ascents and one category one mountain – it will push every rider to the limit. Luckily the sun came out for most of the day to make it slightly more bearable (and safe) than earlier in the week.
The Phoenix guys put in a great ride to catapult themselves to 4th in the county team ranking. Just over a minute off third position! Quite an achievement when you consider the strength of the Aquablue and DID teams, both containing ex-professional and international riders.
|1||CORK City Aquablue||44h26’06″|
|2||MEATH Dunboyne DID||@ 16’22″|
|3||TIPPERARY North Visit Nenagh.ie||@ 25’19″|
|4||ANTRIM Phoenix McConvey Cycles||@ 26’30″|
|5||DONEGAL Inishowen Gateway McCafe||@ 34’55″|
Unfortunately Alex crashed on what looked like a stage well suited to his abilities, but still finished well. Mike fared best of the Antrim team, finishing in the second group home, with Ali and Daniel just behind. Brian rolled in with the grupetto to secure a strong result for the team.
The scenery around todays stage was stunning at times, but I’m not sure the riders got much chance to enjoy it. At least the team mechanic Joe did. Thursday is another hilly route, hopefully the guys can keep up their great form!
This week marks the first time in it’s history that Phoenix CC has put forward a team to represent ourselves (and indeed Co. Antrim) in the islands biggest race – the An Post Rás.
What makes ‘the rás’ so important? It’s the islands highest ‘ranked’ stage race, holding UCI 2.2 classification. This means it’s open for entry to Irish UCI professional continental, UCI continental teams, National teams and Regional and club teams. That bottom rung, ‘Regional and club teams’, is what makes it so important to us and amateur riders around the country. It’s what enables the countries best local riders to compete with some of the worlds brightest talents. Phoenix are lucky enough to have a considerable number of the provinces top riders, and are proud to support them as they represent the club and county on this brutal race around Ireland.
The team which began this eight day stage race on Sunday is:
|Antrim Traction-McConvey Cycles|
|Manager: Cormac McCann|
All of our riders except Brian Stewart are rás first timers, and it will without doubt be the hardest eight days any of them have had on a bike. You can show your support for the riders by following them on facebook (PhoenixRas), twitter (@PhoenixRas14) or our own message board thread (An Post Ras thread). We’ve also set up a page on this site to help you keep tabs on the guys activities. In their downtime they have even managed to put together a few videos so you can track their progress.
After stage three the team is a solid 5th in the county team classification, and well within striking distance of the higher positions! We will also post updates on the teams performace stage-by-stage.
Congratulations to Greg Lennon who won the A4 race at Hugo Loughran GP. Island Wheelers hosted an A3 and A4 race on Friday 2nd May.
Full report on cycling ulster here
Ali Macauley had his first win of the season on Sunday 27th at the Waller Cup in Bohermeen in a high quality field, he is pictured below crossing the line ahead of Eoin Morgan of UCD. In third place was Mark Reilly of Lucan CRC who won the Gorey 3 day this year and in fourth place was the RAS Mumhan winner Mark Dowling of DID Dunboy. The day before Ali finished 6th in the Shay Elliott completing a great weekend of racing. You can read race reports on both races here at Sticky Bottle. There were plenty of other good results for our riders this weekend, also at Bohermeen Micky Green was 3rd in the A4 race. On Saturday at the Lakeland GP Ciaran McVeigh was 7th in the A3 race, Julie Rea was 4th in the womens race and Sean Hargan 3rd in the masters race. At the Mid Ulster GP on Sunday Tommy Lamb was 4th in the masters race, You can read reports on Cycling Ulster here. The picture is courtesy of Amy-Norah Farrell, many thanks.
Phoenix had a team of 5 in this legendary local race: Brian Stewart, Ali McCauley, Mike Millar, Fergus Rooney and Karl Morgan.
A break of 7 riders got away with Fraser Duncan taking the win with a gap of 2mins 23 secs over the bunch. Big B won the bunch sprint for 8th place. Ali, Karl and I finished in the bunch, Fergus had a badly timed puncture and finished in a group 14 mins down.
There is a full report at Cycling Ulster with the GC sheet here: cyclingulster.com/?p=17010
Second stage was a 2 mile TT at woodgreen, as expected Marcus Christie destroyed it with a winning time of 4 minutes 38 seconds.
Phoenix results were:
This put James Gullen (Velosure Giordana) into the yellow jersey with Fraser sitting in 2nd
This left us on GC at:
26. Ali @ 2m54
28: Mike @ 2m56
32. Karl @ 2m56
36. Brian @ 2m59
75. Fergus @ 15m16
Stage 3 – 6 laps of a rolling course, it was very fast and we all finished in the same time as the winner….. Fraser Duncan again!!!!
Despite the climbs it turned out to be ok although Fergus crashed and had to get a wheel change from neutral service. He made an incredible effort to rejoin the bunch, hopefully that’s all his bad luck done! Another bunch finish with Fraser taking another win and Brian taking 3rd, great result! All of us finished in the bunch which left GC remaining the same.
Full cycling ulster report on stage 4, photos and final GC here
A great race, brilliantly organized and awesome motorbike support from civilian and PSNI bikes. Thanks to all!
Also great to get cheered on by Phoenix guys at the side of the road each day and good to see Eamon and Geoff at the stage finishes.
Jeff Torrens-Spence, Jody Wright, Steve Geary and myself (Niall O’Gorman) represented Phoenix at 2014 edition of Gorey 3 day race. Team met at HOS @4pm with Jeff and Stevie driving. After stopping for quick Burger king at services and then on to Gorey by 8pm. Lack of team car was a bit of concern for the guys, but i was quietly confident because my uncle Gerry rides for South East Road Club (SERC) had promised to sort us out – more on that later.
Sat – Stage 1 127km Blessington to Gorey
We found out day before that stage 1 was increased to 127km – was 110km last year.
First question was how to get to Blessington. Jeff drove and left his car. Up stepped the SERC boys to bring 2 bikes up and get our extra gear back. The sun was shining so sun cream on. 190 riders rolling through town at brisk pace and past roundabout heading south.
Fast and furious, fighting for position all day to stay near front. Cars on right causing bunch to compress. Crashes. Guys shelled on the climbs at Hacketstown, Holts pass, Carnew (x2). Stevie was probably best positioned near front, rest of us mid-pack. I had a dig at Holts pass climb – only time i had open road knowing it was lining out behind.
I think we all felt distance – a case of hanging in bunch and possibly trying for late move. Unfortunately there was fatal car crash ahead of the race so we got stopped with 3km to go. Right decision. Terrible tragedy for that family.
Sun – Stage 2 (TT), Stage 3 96km Gorey-Carnew-Camolin circuit
I was up several times in night – stomach trouble. Not good. Brisk headwind for the TT but all the lads all put in good times. Jody 09:26, Me 09:38, Jeff 09:48, Stevie 10:00. Then it was quick 2hr turnaround before the afternoon stage – 4 laps of 24km. Almost straight away i was in trouble, back of the field. First time up Carnew hill I has last man to keep contact – guys behind me got shelled. It lined out over top, 60kph for next 8km. The LH turn at Camolin was into wind. Stevie again was well positioned at front, Jeff and Jody safe in pack, me eating bar tape at the back. Second time up Carnew hill, i got distanced but fought back on (again guys behind me shelled). But there was a gap in line ahead which meant a 60kph chase on empty legs. Stevie had mechanical and dropped back to check it out. He got going just before turn into wind. He passed me and fought like mad to get up through cars but no joy. At this stage my stomach was in bad way. We formed a grupetto and rode on. End of 2nd lap had to make emergency pit stop at the Statoil loo. 10mins later got going and it started lashing with rain, very cold. I rode on but completely empty and as i finished 3rd lap was pulled in. The race finished 5mins later, Jeff and Jody safe in bunch. Stevie came in 25min down. Cold and nearly hypothermic, SERC came to our rescue with van to take us back to B&B.
Mon – Stage 4 91km Gorey to Blessington
I felt a bit better and decided to give race a go. After his disappointment, Stevie was pumped to go on the attack. Jody was only seconds down on a top 10 GC place so plan was to sit tight and try for a late move. Again SERC helped us out to take stuff up to finish in van.
Really fast first hour – 43kph. Stevie was in early move up the road. Carnew was crazy – 50kph through town over ramps, bottles everywhere on road. Climb after Shillelagh was fast and lined out for ages on the descent. Turned north at Tullow into cross head wind which calmed it all down. A few more crashes but pace was a bit more steady up to Blessington. In the end we all came home in the sunshine and safely in the bunch.
Results & thanks
Team rode well all weekend in a huge field including some quality riders. Jody was best of Phoenix riders in 27th, Jeff in 46th and Stevie in 112nd. I didn’t get a placing because i didn’t complete full distance on stage 3, but in end i was happy to complete the race back to Blessington.
Thanks to race committee for their support and a big thanks to John Rooney who supplied us with hand-written notes on what to expect, all of it 100% accurate. It is the Gorey bible. The B&B (Stone Lodge, Riverchapel) was excellent – great breakfast in the morning, definitely would recommend. Thanks to Claire and family.
The biggest thanks has to go South East Road Club. Every single member of that club was friendly, welcoming and only too happy to help. From the mechanic who fixed Jeff’s gears 5 mins before stage 3, Pat who transported us in his van and fellow racers. If you ever meeting a SERC rider out on the road be sure to give them a wave.
Congratulations to Craig Rea who won the A4 race at Bann Valley Classic on Sunday 13th April. A cool and blustery wind greeted the riders. As often is case in A4, no break was able to get away and the strong head/tail-winds didn’t help. However conditions didn’t deter Craig who made his move on the last lap to take a clear win. Olan Byrne showed his improving form by taking 3rd place. It was a very strong race from all the Phoenix A4 men, with Michael Green getting into the points and rest of team finishing within top 15-20 places.
Race report and photos here
Visit Nenagh Classic
Rory Maguire was part of a very strong cycling Ulster junior squad which raced Nenagh classic on sunday. The team had 3 riders in top 12, Craig McCauley 3rd, Cathal Clarke 6th, Rory 8th and Ryan Reilly 12th.
More info on race when it becomes available, but here is cycling ulster report
Well done to all the Phoenix riders who took on Wallace Caldwell. Northern-Dave Kane domination continued with Adam Armstrong and Fraser Duncan taking another 1-2 for the Fluro-train. Fergus Rooney who was very active in break until the race blew apart at Springwell forest. No placings for Phoenix this time out but a hard days racing for all and good miles in legs for Ras team.
Race report and photos here