Fresh off strong performances in the Commonwealth Games and European championships this month, Matthew Teggart heads into the fifth and final round of the Cycling Ireland National Series in Dromore hosted by Banbridge Cycling Club on Saturday as the clear favourite for overall victory.
The Banbridge rider won the opening three rounds of the series and while he missed round four in Cong in May due to an overseas commitment with his WiV SunGod team, he retains a commanding lead.
Teggart has 120 points, considerably more than Conor Murnane (UCD Cycling Club) and Luke Smith (Moynalty Cycling Club). They have 72 and 71 points respectively, while round 4 winner Tom Regan (Seven Springs CC Loughrea) and Mark Dowling (All human/VeloRevolution Racing Team) both have 55.
Previous rounds offered 40 points to the winner, but it remains mathematically possible for other riders to win overall as the final round on Saturday offers double points.
That means that the aforementioned riders plus Timothy O’Regan (All human/VeloRevolution Racing Team), Gareth O’Neill (Team Caldwell Cycles) and Paul Kennedy (Burren Cycling Club) could in theory make up their deficits.
Dean Harvey (Spellman-Dublin Port) is eighth and would also be in range, but he is competing in the Tour de l’Avenir with the Irish team and will miss the event.
Whatever about the mathematics, though, even if either of Teggart’s best-placed rivals Murnane and Smith were to win on Saturday, he only needs to finish ninth to win the overall series.
Considering the sparkling form which saw him net fourth in the Commonwealth Games road race, he should be in the thick of things provided he avoids any problems.
Things are much tighter in the women’s points standings. Round 4 winner Gabriele Glodenyte (UCD) leads with 125 points, ten ahead of Caoimhe O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar) and 24 ahead of Ella Doherty (UCD). Jemma Speers (North Down CC), Eve McCrystal (Bellurgan Wheelers) and Suzanne White (Sorrento CC) are within 80 points of the leader, so could in theory still overhaul her.
However Glodenyte’s closest rival O’Brien has overseas commitments and will miss Saturday’s race. Glodenyte’s 24-point buffer over Doherty is a solid advantage and things are looking promising for her if she performs as she did in Cong.
Two more categories will be settled on Saturday. Caoimhe O’Brien’s sister Aoife (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar) leads the junior women’s contest with 145 points, 30 more than Erin Grace Creighton (McConvey Cycles) and 60 ahead of Emma Smith (Navan Road Club). Both O’Brien and Creighton will also miss Saturday’s race due to commitments with the Irish national team, meaning that a strong performance by Smith could see her grab the final overall victory.
Patrick O’Loughlin (Panduit Carrick Wheelers) heads the junior men’s standings with 115 points. Sam Bolger (Killarney Cycling Club) is on 104 and rounds two and three winner Adam Gilsenan (Club Ciclisto Canturino) is on 89.
The various events will start from the headquarters at Dromore High School at 11.45 on Saturday.
Each race includes laps of a hilly circuit. Those laps will see the riders pass through the villages of Kinallen and Dromara with the Mourne Mountains as a backdrop, then make their way toward Hillsborough before they turn back once again in the direction of Dromore. A big bunch sprint is described by the organisers as unlikely due to the climbs of Ballykeel Hill, Kinallen and Ballykeel, which should break things up.
Following the final lap in each race, the riders will exit the circuit en route to Dromore town, where they will take in one final climb to the finish line atop Mount St.
The elite and junior men will face four laps, totalling 128km. The elite and junior women’s race will be over two laps, totalling 68km. There will also be a support race for A3 riders over three laps.
Elsewhere, Aoife O’Brien and Erin Creighton have been selected to represent Ireland at the UCI Junior Track World Championships in Tel Aviv from August 23 to 27.
Overall standings heading into final round:
1, Matthew Teggart (WiV SunGod) 120
2, Conor Murnane (UCD Cycling Club) 72
3, Luke Smith (Moynalty Cycling Club) 71
4, Tom Regan (Seven Springs CC Loughrea) 55
5, Mark Dowling (All human/VeloRevolution Racing Team) 55
6, Timothy O' Regan (All human/VeloRevolution Racing Team) 54
1, Gabriele Glodenyte (UCD Cycling Club) 125
2, Caoimhe O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar) 115
3, Ella Doherty (UCD Cycling Club) 101
4, Jemma Speers (North Down CC) 93
5, Eve McCrystal (Bellurgan Wheelers) 70
6, Suzanne White (Sorrento CC) 47
1, Patrick O’Loughlin (Panduit Carrick Wheelers) 115
2, Sam Bolger (Killarney Cycling Club) 104
3, Adam Gilsenan (Club Ciclisto Canturino) 89
4, Conal Scully (Carlow RCC) 84
5, Quillan Donnelly (Usher Irish Road Club) 83
6, Niall Mc Loughlin (Westport Covey Wheelers Cycling Club) 70
1, Aoife O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar) 145
2, Erin Grace Creighton (McConvey Cycles) 115
3, Emma Smith (Navan Road Club) 85
4, Shauna Finn (Newcastle West Cycling Club) 55
5, Katie Reilly (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) 30