Carlingford chosen to host top cycling event
DUNDALK'S Cuchulainn Cycling Club has been appointed promoter of the 2013 National Cycling Championships for Elite men and women as well as the Vets Championship.
These Championships, comprising both a road race and time trial, are the most prestigious one day cycling event in the country.
The club committee considered a number of courses that would suit the unique requirements of this race and finally settled on Carlingford Village as the host venue. It is ideally located between both Dublin and Belfast and the stunning scenery of the Lough and Cooley mountains will make for a magnificent backdrop.
The Elite race will attract Ireland's top cyclists including Tour de France stars Nicholas Roche and Dan Martin and Olympic aces Martyn Irvine and David McCann. The riders will do battle for the right to wear the prestigious National Championship green jersey for the next year, including at the Tour De France which will start the following weekend.
Meanwhile, the ladies race will see World Championship medallist Caroline Ryan battling with defending champion Siobhan Hogan of Cork.
The action will kick off with a time trial on the evening of Thursday, June 20th. This event, also known as the race of truth, sees each rider cover 40km alone with the fastest time winning and was last year won by former World Champion Michael Hutchinson. In the women's event, all eyes will be on local rider Eve McCrystal (European Medal winner at the police games in 2012) as she hopes to claim a podium finish. The time trial will take place along the R176 and R173 on a rolling course with a total of 65m of climbing and with such little ascding, the fast course may see a new national record set, which is currently held by David McCann, who covered a 40km course in a staggering time of 47mins and six seconds in 2008.
On Saturday June 22nd, the action switches to road racing with the National Ladies and Veterans races. The circuit for the road race will cover laps of a 14.4km route with 61m of climbing, per lap, on a mixture of both main and rural roads. The route will incorporate some maginficent scenery including views of Carlingford Lough, the Cooley and Mourne Mountains as well as passing through the streets of the medieval village.
The following day is the main event when Ireland's top stars line up to see who will be crowned Irish Cycling Champion for 2013. The event is Ireland's biggest one day race and the only single day event in the country with valuable UCI points up for grabs. The race will be contested over a gruelling 172km with riders passing through Carlingford village 14 times. The relatively flat circuit should make for an attacking, fast paced race. Last year's winner and Pro-Tour rider Matt Brammeier will be hoping to retain his title and have the honour of wearing the National Champions jersey for a further 12 months. Also up for grabs will be the Under-23 jersey, last year won by Carrick-on-Suir's Sam Bennett, who went on to sign a professional contract with the An Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team, based in Belgium.