SEAN Lacey captured a fifth consecutive Lacey Cup title in tremendous style last Sunday as the local cycling season got underway in earnest.
Five straight titles is a feat unlikely to be matched and it shows the sheer will and determination, not to mention the skill, strength and excellent bikemanship that Sean Lacey possesses to win the Cup for the fifth year running.
Great weather, terrific riding and a record entry of 225 elite riders made this a special 60th edition of the opening of the cycling season.
From the outset when the A4 and A3 categories went, the racing was frantic and at a high level. Ascending Gleann Na Gealt for the firsr prime, five riders had got a gap, and going over the top two competed for the win.
Cathal Moynihan followed a close third from the local promoting club. By Inch, A1/A2 had reeled in all and by this stage the main riders were always in control. A large group maintained a hectic pace to Castlemaine which by then a final selection had been made with five riders riding away and going for the win. Up Sliabh Mish the pace intensified with two of the five dropped. Coming to the finish three riders contested with the winner Sean Lacey making it six wins to date.
Club riders showed that their winter training paid dividends as Cathal Moynlhan came in 13th, closely followed by Sean McCarron, Tom Flaherty, Michael Leahy, Barry Horgan, Gerry McCarthy, Tom Sheedy, Donnacha Galvin and George Doyle, who had been with this group but had a puncture at Milltown, and had to ride hard to try and get back on.
Paul Lynch rode a terrific race and must be well pleased with his performance. John O'Dowd and Tom Shanahan showed that they have more to offer and will only benefit from this outing.
However, deservedly and fittingly it was Lacey again who lifted the title after a strong and intelligent ride. The victory shows Lacey's continous focus on keeping himself at the highest level, physically and mentally. It is an extra satisfaction that his early years learning the ropes were spent with the local club.