Elite Women And Junior Men Battle Hard In Road Race At European Championships

ByEmma Porter |

Ireland’s Oisin Ferrity and Seth Dunwoody picked up top 30 finishes while Alice Sharpe was 53rd in a battling day for Ireland at the European Road Championships on Saturday, September 23rd.

In the penultimate day of action in Drenthe, Netherlands, A six-strong Irish team worked together well as two riders earned a top 30 placing as Ferrity and Dunwoody starred in the Junior Men’s Race.

In a star-studded Elite Women’s Race, Ireland duo Alice Sharpe and Fiona Mangan battled well as a relentless pace and a crash for Sharpe saw them earn results just outside the top 50.

The Junior Men’s Road Race was first off this morning as a bolstered Ireland squad of six riders took to the start line taking on 111km, eight laps of the Col du VAM circuit.

Seth Dunwoody, Liam O’Brien, Cal Tutty, Oisin Ferrity, Adam Rafferty and Patrick Casey formed a strong Irish team.

A searing pace was set right from the gun as splits began to form early on, however it would all come back together as riders entered the fourth lap of the 13.7km circuit.

There were no shortage of mechanicals in the middle of the race as O’Brien suffered a puncture, requiring a front wheel change, and Dunwoody also needing a bike change. Fortunately, both riders fought hard and regained their positions in the peloton as the race came back together.

Five riders broke away gaining a short advantage over the bunch as the rides entered the fifth lap as the leaders extended their lead to 27 seconds, but they were quickly reeled in as the race approached two laps to go.

Irish riders were in the thick of the action with Ferrity, Dunwoody and Rafferty all in the lead group as the race entered the final lap. O’Brien and Casey were in the next group on the road less than a minute behind the front of the race.

Unfortunately, Cal Tutty and the group he was in were forced to abandon before the final as they lost too much time.

The pace kicked on in the final lap as riders jostled for positions. In the end, it was Ravbar of Slovenia who was strongest up the Col du VAM and held off the rest of the bunch taking a comfortable win.

Ferrity and Dunwoody battled hard up the climb and into the finish line – ultimately placing 26th and 30th respectively some. Rafferty was next to cross the line finishing 54th some 36 seconds back with Casey (+2:51) and O’Brien (3:00) placing 67th and 69th.

Elite Women’s Race

In the Elite Women’s Road Race, Alice Sharpe was joined by Fiona Mangan to take on the 131.3km from Meppel concluding with five laps of the 13.7km circuit finishing on the Col du VAM cobbled climb.

Several riders struggled to stick with the early pace as the Netherlands set a high pace right from the start.

Despite the high tempo, little happened in the opening 62km, with several riders attempting to breakaway. A dangerous looking attack was eventually brought back as the riders completed the first ascent of Col du VAM.

Irish riders Fiona Mangan and Alice Sharpe maintained a good position in the peloton with Sharpe narrowly avoiding a crash towards the back of the group.

The peloton slowly whittled down at each passage of the Col du VAM on the 13.7km circuit as the pace intensified.

On the third last ascent, Mangan lost contact from the front of the race as Shape clung on.

Fiona Mangan during the Elite Women’s Road Race (Image: SWPix)

Attacks came thick and fast on the penultimate lap as the bigger teams worked to reel back any dangerous attacks. The bunch split soon split as a group went off the front before Mischa Bredewold of the Netherlands launched an attack with 10km to go – soloing to victory.

Among the chasing groups behind, Sharpe fought well to earn a 53rd place finish after suffering a crash on the final lap which impeded her chances of a higher finish. Mangan too battled behind and finished in 70th place.

Ireland conclude their European Road Championships on Sunday, September 24th, with the Junior Women’s Road Race and Elite Men’s Road Race.

More information on Ireland’s European Road Championships schedule can be found in our full preview here.

European Road Championships Results – September 23rd

Elite Women

  • Alice Sharpe – 53rd
  • Fiona Mangan – 70th

Junior Men

  • Oisin Ferrity – 26th
  • Seth Dunwoody – 30th
  • Adam Rafferty – 54th
  • Patrick Casey  – 67th
  • Liam O’Brien – 69th
  • Cal Tutty – DNF
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