Mondello, Co. Kildare, played host for the 2023 Criterium National Championships on Tuesday, August 22nd. Mia Griffin and John Buller took big victories in the championships, with the latter successfully defending his crown in a fast and furious men’s (open) race.
Griffin underlined her return from injury with a victory in the women’s race as racing began on Tuesday evening, edging Marine Lenehan in a two-up sprint to the line.
Taking on 35 minutes of racing and two laps, 19 starters took to the line with the majority staying together for the whole race. However, it was active at the front as Annalise Murphy, Eve McCrystal, and Griffin among others dictated the pace throughout.
In the run into the final straight, it was Griffin and Lenehan who managed to break off from the main group and contest the sprint – with Griffin taking the win by less than a wheel.
Mia Griffin said, “It was a nice race. There were a few attacks and wind so it was nice and fun. It was a good sprint in the end, we came fast into the last corner and I did a bike throw at the end.”
The men’s (open) race followed shortly after as they took on 55 minutes around the Mondello circuit before three deciding laps.
With a packed field taking to the line, the bunch stayed somewhat together throughout. After the halfway mark the breakaway attempts came as Josh Callaly, Conal Scully, Luke Smith, Mitchell McLaughlin, Chris Dawson and Conn McDunphy among the names towards the front in the final laps.
And with just a lap to go, after several incarnations of a breakaway gaining a handful of seconds on the main bunch, it all largely came together as riders prepared for a final push for victory.
Defending champion Buller proved strongest in the final 200m as he surged to the front to take the win, with Conor Murnane and Leo Doyle completing the podium after racing at an impressive 46kph average speed throughout.
John Buller said, “It’s a great (feeling). Back to defend my title so I’m over the moon. I’ve never been to Mondello before, I didn’t really know when there was a serious (part of the) race on. I made sure I got out and did what I could, but thankfully it fell into my hands – a nice sprint at the end. It split in the last couple of laps and I was on the right side of it. I just played the cards right and it came down to a sprint.”
2023 Criterium National Championships Results
- Mia Griffin (Israel Premier Tech Roland)
- Marine Lenehan (Team Dan Morrissey – Primor by Pissei)
- Eve McCrystal (Bellurgan Wheelers)
Team: Longcourt Hotel – NCW Wheelers
Unplaced Master: Orla Hendron (Orwell Wheelers)
Men’s (Open) Race
- John Buller (Team PB Performance)
- Conor Murnane (UCD Cycling Club)
- Leo Doyle (ARBO – Headstart ON Fahrrad)
Team: UCD Cycling Club
Unplaced Junior: Christopher Marshall (Molenspurters Meulebeke)
Full results from both races can be found here.