Ben Healy stormed to a dominant victory at the Senior Men’s National Championships in Limerick today.
Healy, took charge of the race from almost the first pedal stroke breaking loose from a pack of the country’s best riders to lead from the front for the duration of the 155km course.
Fresh from his Under 23 victory in Thursday’s Time Trial, Healy rode a faultless race in blazing sunshine, over the rolling terrain of the Knockaderry, Co Limerick course.
He set off in a two man break on the first lap, with Darnell Moore, setting a blistering pace over the course and establishing an ever-increasing lead over the pursuing peloton.
The difficult chase saw multiple pursuing groups form and then break apart as the early pace demolished many riders’ early efforts.
As the finish neared Healy put further pressure on the climb to Knockaderry, dropping his breakaway companion.
It was then time for Nicholas Roche (Team Sunweb) to attempt a last gasp effort to bridge across, roaring through the start finish straight on the penultimate lap.
His efforts came to little and the in-form Healy, at just 20-years-old, showed sublime composure and secured the victory, raising his hands in triumph as Roche finished second at 2’35’ and Darragh O’Mahony of Swift Carbon taking the bronze.
The Under 23 title also saw Healy crowned as champion finishing almost 5 minutes ahead of his nearest rival.
Ben Healy said: “I went away on the first lap and I was really just banking on them sitting up, it never really did but I held a minute for most of the race and it wasn’t until the last laps that I was able to pull out a bit more.
“I was riding very hard, there were personal best numbers for me today. It has been a fantastic few days, I came here wanting to do well and I have achieved everything I could have hoped for.
“This is what every rider wants. Everyone wants to wear the Irish Champion jersey for the year and to get the elite one as an Under 23 is very special.”
Nicholas Roche said that he was disappointed but congratulated Ben Healy on his victory.
He said: “Once again mixed feelings at the finish, I am happy for Ben. He really did a perfect race, he rode smart – he knew the bunch would mark me down and went for most of the day.
“He rode extremely well and maintained his gap, he is going to be a future star of Irish cycling. I had a more touch and go race in the back and managed to get away and get the second place again.”
Nicholas also paid tribute to the Irish home riders for their racing and sent his gratitude to the local people who welcomed the race.
“A lot of the fans here appreciate me coming over and making the effort regardless of what result I get and it was quite nice. It is great for me to come here and for the organisers and show my support for Irish cycling.”
Earlier, in the Junior Men’s Race Ronan O’Connor of Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club took a solo victory.
He said: “Early on I thought I’d get in a break and be up the road for a bit and then a big break came across to me. We worked well together and we had a good gap. Then with five kilometres to go I did a big attack and gapped on the hill and stayed away.
“My first victory this year, I was in France for a few weeks during August and got good experience over there. This is a dream come true, I didn’t expect to win.”
Cycling Ireland Road National Championships, Knockaderry, Co Limerick
- Ben Healy (Trinity Racing) 3:37:17
- Nicholas Roche (Team Sunweb) 3:39:52
- Darragh O’Mahony (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) 3:40:52
- Darnell Moore (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK) 3:41:52
- Daire Feeley (STRATA3/VeloRevolution Racing Team) 3:41:55
- Ben Healy (Trinity Racing) 3:37:17
- Kevin McCambridge (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling) 3:42:09
- Ben Walsh (Evo Pro) 3:45:44
- Ronan O’Connor (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) 2:37:42
- Eoghan Cooke (Ounavarra Cycling Club) 2:38:42.
- Rowan Montgomery (Ballymoney Cycling Club) 2:38:42.