The third round of the 2023 Road National Series brought some of the best riders in the country to Cong and the scenic roads of Co. Mayo and Galway on Sunday, April 23rd.
Caoimhe O’Brien took her second Road National Series victory in a row as Conor Halvey proved strongest from a strong breakaway.
And fans were treated to some exciting racing from the outset in both the men’s and women’s races as the men took on five laps (142km) of a punchy circuit and the women raced four laps (114km) finishing just outside Cong Village.
In the men’s race, an early breakaway of ten riders proved the winning ticket after breaking off from the main group in the opening ten kilometres.
And in the second of five laps, that breakaway sealed its status as the gap grew out to almost two minutes. Back in the main group, riders sensed that victory on the day was slipping from their grasp despite over 100km still left to ride.
That decisive breakaway consisted of Evaldas Stankevicius, Tim Walton, Richard Maes, Vladislav Evseev, Samuel Moloney, James O’Sullivan, Padraig O’Sullivan, Mark Shannon, Conor Halvey and Mark McGinley.
But three riders were able to escape the main group and chip away at that lead as Daire Feeley, Odhran Doogan and Jason Kenny bridged the gap over the next two laps.
On the fourth lap, the trio finally made their catch but weren’t able to capitalise as an attack saw five riders split the break just before the final 30km.
And the move proved decisive as Halvey was joined by Evaldas Stankevicius, Richard Maes, Tim Walton and Samuel Moloney did battle in the final lap for victory.
Moloney was dropped with just over 10km to go as the quartet geared up for a final sprint.
Halvey proved the quickest in the sprint as he had time to celebrate ahead of Stankevicius and Maes in third place.
Feeley retained his lead in the overall standings as he finished outside the top ten but in the breakaway. Killian O’Brien also retains his leadership in the junior men’s classification.
Men’s race winner Conor Halvey said, “It was a very good race. The move went around 5km down the road, so it was a long day out in the break – 135km or so. Towards the end of the race, Daire Feeley and a few others came across to us. We started playing around a bit and in the last lap I got away with four riders. I think in the last half lap we gained around two minutes and it was just a sprint from there but I’m delighted to take the win.”
O’Brien Wins Sprint
In the women’s race, a main group of seven riders stayed together through a long 114km course as O’Brien proved strongest in the finish.
The seven worked well together and pushed a high pace throughout, with O’Brien finishing ahead of Jennifer Neenan and Ella Doherty in the sprint.
Yvonne Doran put in a strong performance as she battled back to the group after twice losing contact on some of the circuit’s punchy climbs as she claimed a fifth placed finish.
O’Brien’s victory is her second in a row in the 2023 Road National Series and she closed the gap on her sister Aoife O’Brien in the overall standings, with Aoife retaining the overall leader’s jersey.
The Road National Series returns on June 4th in Navan for the Sean Nolan Meath Grand Prix, hosted by Navan Cycling Club.
Road National Series Round Three Results
- Caoimhe O’Brien (Belco Van Eyck)
- Jennifer Neenan (Longcourt Hotel – NCW Wheelers)
- Ella Doherty (UCD Cycling Club)
- Aoife O’Brien (Spellman-Dublin Port)
- Yvonne Doran (Orwell Wheelers
- Mary Corless (Challenge Cycling Club)
- Jemma Speers (North Down CC)
- Shauna Finn (Arcane Cycling Team)*
- Niamh O’Dwyer (Black House Racing)
- Conor Halvey (Four Masters CC)
- Evaldas Stankevicius (Greenmount CA)
- Richard Maes (All Human/Velo Revolution Racing Team)
- Tim Walton (All Human/Velo Revolution Racing Team)
- Samuel Moloney (Burren Cycling Club)
- Mark Shannon (Burren Cycling Club)
- Odhran Doogan (Team Caldwell Cycles)
- Mark McGinley (Four Masters CC)
- Jason Kenny (UCD Cycling Club)
- Vladislav Evseev (All Human/Velo Revolution Racing Team)
*: Junior Rider.