Matthew Teggart and Caoimhe O’Brien top the leaderboards of Cycling Ireland’s National Road Series after the duo pulled off back-to-back wins in their first two races of the five-race series.
eggart took a solo victory at the opening Des Hanlon Memorial in Carlow and then repeated the feat on Sunday with another solo ride to the line in Knockaderry to claim the Darach McCarthy & Co Solicitors Road Race.
The Banbridge man, now riding for British pro continental team WIV Sungod, bided his time in the early stages of the 156km Limerick race as a five-man group went clear that included 2021 series winner Daire Feeley who had some of his EvoPro Racing team- mates marking the peloton behind.
Teggart made his first move with 20km remaining, going clear in a four-man chase group on the last drag of the mainly flat course alongside Gareth O’Neill, Mark Dowling and Conn McDunphy, who was policing the move for his team-mate Feeley upfront.
As the front group disintegrated on the run in towards the finish, Feeley was the sole survivor out front, still 20 seconds clear with just two kilometers remaining. However, Feeley was hampered by a mechanical issue as Teggart caught his rival in the final kilometre.
“I knew if we didn’t catch Feeley I was likely to be third instead of second,” he said referring to McDunphy’s armchair ride to the line in the chase group. “I just had to forget about Conn and go for it. We got to within 20 seconds with two kilometers to go and I saw an opportunity. I went all out and was able to lose the boys.”
Teggart clawed back the Roscommon man with just one kilometer to go and went straight past him to take a second solo victory of the series.
“That one hurts,” he said afterwards. “I worked hard for that. I got that much tougher than the Des Hanlon, even though it was a much flatter circuit and easier on paper.”
With maximum points from the first two races of the series, Teggart holds a commanding 27-point lead over UCD’s Conor Murnane in the series but his continental commitments may see him miss some of the remaining series events.
“I couldn’t be in a better position after two rounds,” he admitted. “I’m not sure what’s next for me but I’m hoping that with my points tally that, even if I have to miss a race with being abroad, I will still be up there at the end.”
In the ladies series, O’Brien took her two victories in polar opposite fashion to Teggart, using her fast finish to win two group sprints in Carlow and Knockaderry to claim the green and white jersey of series leader.
“My legs were tying up a bit at the end so I was worried,” O’Brien said of Sunday’s fast finish. “But the sprint at the end was great and I got to hang onto the jersey.”
Using her sprint again wasn’t part of the original plan but her fast finish was called upon after previous attacks were nullified by the peloton.
“It was a punchy circuit and I put in loads of digs but none of them stuck. It’s only the start of the season so I am just trying to build up. Hopefully I will be able to keep this momentum going. I want to put in more digs and attacks in the races and hopefully one day I’ll get a solo win too.”
The junior series has seen a ding-dong battle between Westport’s Niall McLoughlin and Panduit Carrick Wheeler’s Patrick O’Loughlin in the opening two rounds with the duo tied on points and the Carrick youngster topping the table on placings alone after the first two races.
Both however, were outsmarted by Navan’s Adam Gilsenan (CC Canturino 1902) on Sunday.
Gilsenan returned from a stint in Italy to claim victory when he jumped clear and held off the peloton for the last four kilometers of the U-18 race.
“I didn’t want to come into the finish for a bunch sprint,” said Gilsenan afterwards. “I was lucky enough to stay away, so it couldn’t have gone better. I didn’t ride the first race of the series, so we’ll see how the next few rounds go.”
Gilsenan will be riding on home soil when the next round of the series, the Sean Nolan Memorial Meath Grand Prix takes place in Navan next month.
Men’s National Road Series Round 2 – A1/A2 race
1. Matthew Teggart
2. Conn McDunphy
3. Gareth O’Neill
4. Mark Dowling
5. Daire Feeley
6. Dean Harvey
7. Conor Murnane
8. Paul Kennedy
Women’s National Road Series Round 2
1. Caoimhe O’Brien
2. Erin Grace Creighton
3. Emma Smith
4. Ella Doherty
5. Clodagh Ní Gallchóir
6. Gabrielle Glodentye
1. Adam Gilsenan
2. Patrick O’Loughlin
3. Niall McLoughlin
4. Quillan Donnelly
5. Sam Bolger
6. Conal Scully
7. Luke Moynihan
8. Oisin Ferrity
9. Shane Carver
10. Sam Moloney