Phoenix at national championships

So the 2013 road race championships have come and gone.  And what a weekend for Phoenix.  Super performances from every rider wearing the green and blue.  There where big performances from Mike Millar who took on the time trial, Cathal Smyth in Vets race, and our Womens team who took team prize.   But above these, the standout ride of the weekend was from Ali Macauley who stepped up to challenge in the elite mens road race. And of course the club was cheering for club-legend David McCann and indeed many other local riders.

Ali in lead group at National champs 2013 (photo courtesty of Marian Lamb)

Ali in lead group at National champs 2013 (photo courtesty of Marian Lamb)

Below are some of the highlights, and links to race reports and photos.

Time Trial
Thurs 20th saw things kick off with Timetrial in blustery conditions.   Despite spend a large part of this year as manager of Synergy Baku cycling project, David McCann put in a storming time of 51:05 to take silver medal behind winner Michael Huchinson.
Mike Millar put in an excellent ride in blustry conditions to record a time of 58:22.  Well done Mike on your first ride at nationals.
Phoenix were also represented in the tandem as Stu Bennett was in team which took bronze medal.

Veteran Men’s Road race
Great riding by Cathal Smyth, Brian Stewart, Jay Gault, John Smyth and John Rooney in Irish vets champs on Sat 22nd
The guys placed 16th, 37th, 59th, 71st and 89th respectively. Also to Eamon McConvey on his 45th place.
Cathal was especially active getting into the main move of the day, a 12 man break.  Unfortunately close to finish Cathal punctured which ruined his chances of higher placing.  John R. was also unlucky to puncture after strong ride. Congratulations to all.

Womens Road race
Judith Russell, Therese Smyth and Karen Hull finished 14th, 20th and 31st respectively in the womens race.  All three put in some really strong performance.  Jude was especially active at head of race making a number of attacks. Therese fought to retain a place in the main group and was in main bunch at the end.  Despite getting dropped Karen rode on in wet and windy conditions to finish her first national champs and in the end it was Karen’s commitment which ensured that Phoenix women won the team prize.

Jude riding with leaders at national champs 2013 (photo courtesy of Black Umbrella)

Jude riding with leaders at national champs 2013 (photo courtesy of Black Umbrella)

Another fantastic result for Phoenix women coming on back of the Ulster Team Time trial win.


Elite Mens Road race
As expected the professionals dominated the elite mens race on Sunday 23rd. However the domestic riders were not going to take it lying down.
The early break contained current champ Matt Brammier, Dubliner Philp Lavery and Donegal man Phil Deignan. A strong chase group formed behind –  David McCann (Synergy Baku), Sam Bennett (An Post Sean Kelly Team), Damian Shaw (Team Aqua Blue) and Connor Dunne (Vl Technics – Abutriek).
Phoenix’s Feargus Rooney drove hard at front of peleton but it was Ali Macauley who got across to leaders.  Ali joined a lead group of 6 – Brammier, Lavery, Deignan, McCann and Shaw) and remained very active in the thick of the action.

Ali leading the leaders at national champs 2013

Ali leading the leaders at national champs 2013

However in the end the strength and guile of Brammier saw him take a record breaking 4th title with Lavery and Shaw on the podium.  Jack Wilson (An Post) took the U23 prize ahead of Cormac Clarke (Newry Wheelers) and Connor Dunne.  Another victim of a puncture in final laps was former winner David McCann who showed his enduring class by chasing back to take 10th place.
Ali was for many the most agressive rider of the day, and although fading slightly towards the end, came home in fantastic 17th place in his first outing at elite level – “One of the best Phoenix performances in a long time” was how Cycling Ulster’s Tommy Lamb put it.
Feargus Rooney come home in super 30th with Alex Donald 41st. Its hard to believe that both Ali and Alex where both racing A4 last year – no doubt more great things await. Well done lads – mixing it with the best.

To all the riders who competed with distinction – you did the club proud.

Phoenix cycling club would like to thank Cuchulainn Cycling Club, all the marshals and organizers for putting on a memorable weekend of racing.

Time Trial report

Vets race report

Womens race report

Elite race report