Cold weather fails to bring a halt to success of historic Lacey Cup

Tadhg Evans

With a tradition that dates back to the 1950s, the Lacey Cup is one of the most historic races in the country, and not even the cold weather of recent days could deter some 130 cyclists from taking part in the 2018 edition.

Matt Lacey explained that the Manor West Bicycle Club-organised cycle was the brainchild of his uncle, Jack, who initiated the competition during his time in England.

It still rolls off today and its success shows no sign of dimming. A traditional opener to the domestic cycling season, the local, national and international cyclists rolled off on Sunday afternoon from George Poff's Garage before taking on a challenging route that brought them once again on a loop around west and mid Kerry and back to Skehanagh Cross on the Killorglin road, Tralee, reaching speeds of some 60 kilometres per hour in the process.

Speaking with understandable pride at the historic race's long-standing tradition, Matt Lacey was again pleased with how well the 2018 event went off at the weekend.

"It started off in the 1950s. There's a big tradition," he said.

"My uncle was in England at the time and had a bit of money to send over and buy a trophy - end of story.

"We go to Camp, Annascaul, Inch, Castlemaine, and back to Tralee. Matteo Cigala, who was an Italian junior champion but is now based in Ireland."

The former Italian under-23 international got the better of breakaway companions Paul Kennedy (Newcastle West CC) and Tom Shanahan (Limerick CC) on a weekend that saw many cycles called off - but there seems to be no stopping this much-loved competition.