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Chris McGlinchey aims for mountain top after securing cyclo-cross crown

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Chris McGlinchey (third from left) will be aiming to replicate his cyclo-cross success on the mountain bike this weekend. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Chris McGlinchey (third from left) will be aiming to replicate his cyclo-cross success on the mountain bike this weekend. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Chris McGlinchey (third from left) will be aiming to replicate his cyclo-cross success on the mountain bike this weekend. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

This weekend sees both the downhill and cross-country mountain bike national titles up for grabs, in Wexford and Louth respectively.

A new trail has been specially designed for the downhill championships at Bree Hill, Co Wexford. Hosted by Bree MTB, practice will be open from 9am on Saturday with racing due to being at 2pm on Sunday.

Pre-race favourite and former junior world champion Oisín O’Callaghan will be missing from the starting line-up after the Limerick teenager broke his wrist and collarbone in a crash during practice at the Andorra round of the Downhill World Cup last Thursday. In his absence, the tag of favourite falls on Ronan Dunne of the Continental Nukeproof factory team, who finished sixth at the recent Crankworx Downhill in Innsbruck.

The cross-country championships will take place at Bellurgan Park, Co Louth

Hosted by Bellurgan Wheelers on private land, racing will begin on Sunday with a 15-minute event for U-10s at 10am, with the junior men and women starting an hour later. The veterans’ races begin at 1pm while the elite men’s race gets under way at 3.15pm.

In the elite women’s event, Caoimhe May of Orwell Wheelers will be aiming to repeat the form that saw her take four wins from four starts and outright victory at the Cross Country National Series earlier this month.

In the men’s elite race, Gareth McKee (Cycleology) will be hoping to make the top step of the podium after four second places and a third were enough to see him take home the five-race National Series title.

McKee will have to fend off Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles), David Montgomery (Spellma Dublin Port), who survived two falls and some technical issues en route to his second win at the National Series, as well as national cyclo-cross champion Chris McGlinchey (Spectra Wiggle) who is just back from the cross country world cup in Andorra.

“I’m feeling really positive going into the championships this weekend off the back of a strong performance at Andorra,” he says.

“Having seen the preview it looks to be an excellent course and it’s a big goal of mine to win nationals.

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“The UCI points are extremely helpful when it comes to gridding in UCI races and it would be amazing to wear the national jersey at a world cup race next year. That’s that’s the ambition this week.

“I’ve not seen the full start list yet but from the most up to date one I’d say the riders to watch will be Monty, Gareth and Darnell, they are all very strong riders. It’s been a few years since I last raced the XC nationals so I’m really looking forward to racing.”


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