Wheels are in motion for an epic national championship
Some of Ireland's most elite cyclists gathered in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, last week to celebrate the beginning of what is set to be the best Irish National Championship race to date.
Champions Damien Shaw, Joe Fenlon, Caroline Ryan and Fran Meehan collectively tested the course recently alongside the hosting cycling club, the Lakeside Wheelers.
The National Cycling Championships 2014 course takes the riders over rolling hills, none of them too high or daunting.
One thing about bicycle racing is knowing your strengths and your personal weaknesses – and finding a balance between them.
If there are steep hills instead of rolling, flat roads it's fair to assume who may close in on the finish, unless there's been some serious secret training happening – either scenario making for a very memorable, action-packed race.
Over four days in June the Mullingar event is set to draw nearly 400 riders at all levels.
It is Ireland's most prestigious cycling event of the year and professional cyclists such as Nicolas Roche, Dan Martin, Philip Deignan and Martyn Irvine will take on four-time winner Matt Brammeier and the finest of Ireland's amateur cyclists including Shaw, Fenlon, Ryan and Meehan.
They will all be battling it out on the roads of Mullingar for the right to wear the prestigious National Champion's Green Jersey for the next year.
On the weekend of June 28 and 29, all the focus will be on the award-winning village of Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath, where riders will compete over a challenging circuit of 19k.
Saturday will see the ladies and veterans take to the start line for six laps that will bring them through gorgeous countryside via Ballinafid, Crookedwood and back to Multyfarnham.
On the Sunday, 2013 champion Brammeier will line up to defend his title against competitors such as Roche, Martin, stage winner in the 2013 Tour de France, and Irvine, 2013 world track champion.
The elite senior race will consist of 10 laps for a total distance of 190k.