It was a good weekend for Irish amateur riders in France, with three of them notching victories in different races.
Junior national time trial champion Conal Scully opened the Irish account with victory in the 13.8km time trial opener at the Tour Centre Alsace Junior stage race in France.
The Carlow youngster, riding for Belgium’s Isorex Cycling Team, clocked a time of 17:02, just a fraction of second quicker that Noa Isidore (UV Aube Junior), with Mil Morang (UC Dippach) in third at 15 seconds in the one-day, two-stage race.
Scully went into the afternoon’s 110km road stage in the leader’s jersey but lost time on the stage and ended the race in 12th place overall.
National criterium champion John Buller took victory in the 125km Prix de Frontenaud in Saône-et-Loire yesterday, sprinting home at the head of affairs to beat Julien Souton (SCO Dijon Team Materiel Velo) and Eliot Pauchard (Corbas Lyon Metropole) and the rest of a heaving bunch to claim his first win on French soil this year.
The 23-year-old Banbridge man is in fine form at the moment, having claimed the national criterium title in Kells last month and finished second in the Aube Nocturne, an 87.5km French criterium last week.
Aaron Wade showed he his fully recovered from the broken arm and hand he suffered while riding for his French club, Team U Cube, two months ago, when he claimed a third win for Irish riders in France when he soloed clear to victory at the second category 100km Baignes Grand Prix on Sunday.
Having infiltrated an early breakaway, 20-year-old Wade found himself in a chase group of seven as Spanish rider Samuel Mazaud (CC Marmandias) went clear towards the end of the race.
Wade jumped across to the Spaniard on the final of ten laps before dropping him to finish 40 seconds clear of Mazaud.
Today, Ryan Mullen finished eighth on stage five of the Tour of Poland after a crash blocked the road and split the peloton in the final kilometres.
Sam Bennett was caught behind the crash but the Bora-Hansgrohe squad maintained their race lead with Sergio Higuita going into tomorrow’s penultimate stage.
"The plan was to ride for Sam today,” admitted Mullen afterwards. “Ahead of the finale, we were in a perfect position, but some riders in front of us hit the deck, which caused a big crash in the field.
“Somehow I managed to avoid the crash, using up one of my nine lives, and then tried to ride for the best result under the circumstances. But it's a shame that we weren't able to contest the sprint with Sam in the end. On the other hand, we did manage to defend the yellow jersey, which is definitely a success with two stages ahead of us."
Tomorrow, Wicklow youngster Archie Ryan lines up for the Jumbo-Visma Development team for the hilly four-day Sazka Tour in the Czech Republic.
Ryan’s U-23 squad will face three WorldTour teams in Bora-Hansgrohe, BikeExchange-Jayco and a packed Intermarche-WantyGroup Gobert squad containing home favourite Jan Hirt, who has won the Tour of Oman and a stage of the Giro d’Italia already this year.