Cycling: Kelly eyes title defence

Tommy Campbell

Back on the road, the cycling season roars into action tomorrow in Monasterevin.

Newbridge Cycling Club open affairs with a double header in the Co Kildare town in aid of Kildare REHAB.

John Malone of the promoting club has put together a very attractive programme, not only for the racers but, with the support of the Bell Yarn Pub, he's added a leisure cycle too.

Both events will be run over the same course. The road race will start shortly before noon, with a leisure cycle, commemorating the late Ned Flanagan, beginning 15 minutes later.

The course, a 67km loop, will see riders pedal from Monasterevin to Ballybrittas, Portlaoise, Stradbally, Athy, Kilberry and Kildangan. The roads in counties Kildare and Laois feature little climbing.

This will likely suit last year's road race winner, Robin Kelly.

Last season Kelly snatched victory with an explosive sprint away from breakaway companion Ryan Sherlock.

Robin is hoping to make it back-to-back wins for new team Aquablue, who he joined in the off-season.