Amy’s winning start / Bann valley classic

Amy takes first win with new club

Amy Brice won the womans race at Drogheda on Sun 21st April, taking the sprint in fine style from a large field.  Amy, now riding for D.I.D Ladies Racing Team took the win by a few lengths. Amy started her cycling career with Phoenix and will always have her roots deep with the club. We wish her well and every success racing both at home and abroad in what will be an exciting new adventure with the new team.
Race report on StickyBottle here
 

Aaron and Marcel score at Bann valley

Living up to his growing reputation as an agressive rider, Marcel Kock put the hammer down right from the start of the A3 race at Bann valley classic on Sun 21st .  He was joined in an 8 man breakaway by Phoenix new rider Aaron McGrady. Despite really big effort from chasing groups, the breakaway stayed away.  In the final sprint Aaron took 3rd place and Marcel got a reward for his efforts as he took 6th place. Well done guys.

Aaron and Marcel at Bann Valley

Aaron and Marcel in A3 break at Bann Valley

Race report on Cycling Ulster here

North Down GP and Carn Classic 2013

North Down GP

Saturday 13th April saw North Down GP hosted by NDCC with some mixed fortune for Phoenix.

In the A1/A2 race Marcel got into the early move for a few laps but got pulled back by chasing group. Ali McCauley was in this group and although missing out on podium this time, came away with 4th place.   For 2nd weekend in a row,  Brian Stewart showed that class never goes away by taking bunch sprint and 6th place points which means he now is upgraded to A1.  Marcel came in as first A2 – a big result can’t be far away for the DutchCub.

Marcel gives it the beans (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Marcel gives it the beans (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

In the A3 race, Jay Gault was in 9 man break with 20secs on peleton when commissionaires called halt due to crash at finish.  As result all riders in the break got 4 points.  Congratulations to Jay and also to Jude Russell took 3rd place in Womens race and Michael Tolan took a fine 4th in Masters.

Unfortunately, Michael Hewit was suffered a bad crash in Masters race resulting in fractured femur. Latest reports are that he is on the mend. We wish Mike and all other riders who crashed a speedy recovery.

full report and photos

Ciaran wins at Carn Wheelers Classic

Sunday saw some hard racing in very windy conditions.  In the A race, Fergus Rooney was in the mix right from start, got into the winning break  and came away with 4th place.   The B race for A3 again saw Alex Donald and Aaron McGrady getting into the early break.  After hard day in the break, Alex came away with 4th.

Another win for Ciaran (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Another win for Ciaran (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Result of the weekend goes to Ciaran McVeigh.   Demonstrating that his win at Newry was no fluke, Ciaran took the bunch sprint. Well done Ciaran – A3 awaits.

full report and photos

Phoenix team on form at Tour of Ards 2013

Ali McCauley continues his purple patch with a good 2nd place at the Tour of Ards 2013. With Brian Stewart 5th, David Neill 6th and Alex Donald first A3 it was a strong showing all round.

Phoenix ready to roll

Phoenix ready to roll

Setting of at a blistering pace a lot of small groups were trying to get a way with Phoenix always represented. A group of 4 finally managed to get a bit of a gap on the run into portaferry (Ali, Gary Cranston, James McMaster, Bryan McCrystal).  Some good teamwork in the bunch from several of the phoenix riders made sure that the gap went up slowly but surely.

Although several riders managed to pull the bunch back to within sight in the final couple of miles the group stayed clear.

In the bunch Marcel put in big effort in closing stages to lead out team for sprint. Brian pulled out a great sprint followed home by David.

Thanks to Ards CC for well organized race.

(Race report – Marcel, Eamon – team photo)

Cycling Ulster race report here

Photos here

Phoenix sucess at Gorey 3 day

There are 10km to go, a lone rider  in green and blue takes the corner and accelerates.  Total commitment.  The group of chasers follows some 1min 45 sec behind.  Some of the best talent on 2 wheels pushing hard to catch the leader. But  the solo rider hangs on to take victory by 40 seconds.  A classy victory.  Now this isn’t some pro race in a far off place.  This is stage 1 of the 2013 Gorey 3-day and the rider is Phoenix’s very own Ali McCauley taking a famous victory.  Ali would eventually finish 2nd to Dylan Foley of Irish development squad but Phoenix would be in thick of action for the entire weekend.

Getting to Gorey

With the cancellation of Tour of the North, and a few slots opening up, Ali and Marcel Kock had opportunity to boost the Phoenix team of Joe Henry, Mike Millar and John Rooney with club captain Jay Gault driving team car. Conditions where not going to be easy for any of the riders, a cold easterly breeze ensured that gilets/arm/leg warmers where order of the day.

Stage 1 saw Marcel getting into the early breakaway of 8 riders and working hard to stay away from the bunch.  With about 30km to go, Ali was in a bunch of 12 which bridged across.   Shortly after Ali made his break and after some hesitation in bunch got significant gap.  But despite the efforts of chasers Ali hung on to take the win and leaders jersey.

Ali take stage 1 in 2013 Gorey 3 day (photo courtesy of http://www.blackumbrellaphotography.com)

Ali take stage 1 in 2013 Gorey 3 day (photo courtesy of http://www.blackumbrellaphotography.com)

Easter Sunday would see two stages, a 6.4km  individual time trial followed by  road stage (4 times round 24km circuit). In the TT, Ali lost 37 seconds to Mark Downey (Irish Devleopment squad) but managed to hold onto yellow jersey by 2 seconds from Dylan Foley.  All 5 Phoenix team put in powerful rides with Marcel establishing his place in top 20.

 

John, Mike and Joe getting ready for TT

John, Mike and Joe getting ready for TT (photo courtesy of http://www.blackumbrellaphotography.com)

 Leaving it all on the road

With many riders close in GC and very strong teams, both Irish and continental, it was always going to be a big ask for Phoenix guys to defend the yellow.  But the team stepped up.  However in final phase of race a break of 3 broke clear with Velo Club Eckwershein (France) taking 1st and 3rd place separated by Dylan O’Brien(Irish development squad) in 2nd.  Behind the front three, Dylan Foley broke clear of the chasing group containing Ali and took  GC by 14 seconds.

However Phoenix where still in the mix in final stage and had 2nd place on podium to defend.  For those further down classification, Stage 4 was survival but a fast start resulting in riders quickly getting shelled out the back.  After a hard stage with alot of aggressive riding, the yellow jersey showed his strength to get away and take second place behind John Noel Wolf (Velo Club Eckwershein). With Ali finishing in following bunch, Phoenix team had done enough to hold on to 2nd place.  Marcel finished in 15th, Mike 72nd, Joe 122nd and John 131st.  The team placed 10th in team classification.

Congratulations to the Phoenix team on a tough but successful weekends racing.  To come away with 2nd place in GC up against some of the best young talent in the country is a fantastic result. 

Phoenix would like to thank to promoting club Usher Irish Road Club and all the organizers, marshalls and helpers  for putting on a top event.  Our thanks also to all the other clubs and individuals who gave their support and to team down in Gorey.

Full results available here:  http://irishroadclub.com/index.php/stage_races

Photos and some great video highlights available here: http://www.facebook.com/BlackUmbrellaProductions

Memorable Easter Reliability

Dry and bright if a bit cold and windy for Phoenix relability trial on Sunday 31st March.  The testing conditions were offset by dry roads, fantastic views over Lough Neagh to the Sperrins and a memorable final stretch up past Dundrod and over the mountain.

A light dusting of snow

A light dusting of snow

Thanks to Eamon and Eamon for lead bike and back up car for a sizeable B group. Also to Mark/ McConvey’s for back up for the hard riding A run. Thanks also to Dermot and BigB for taking the whistles. A big thank you to all the riders who rode so well and kept everything safe – I had an “armchair” view of the A run – a great display of hard riding and in true BigB fashion was whittled down to a few by the end. Happy Easter!!

(Thanks to Geoff for report and Chris for photo)