Ulster Cycling News
30Sep/140

Highs and Lows for Ulster’s Youth at Inter-Regional Road

aaThe 2014 UK Inter-Regional Road Championships will go down as Ulster`s most successful participation so far in these competitions, but is unfortunately balanced somewhat by the spills a couple of our riders were involved in over the course of the 3-day competition.

The entire concept is an excellent one devised by British Cycling to bring together the 12 British Cycling regions, with Ulster included to make 13 teams comprising 4 Boys and 4 Girls. Each year there is a UK School Games, a multi-sport competition largely mirroring the Olympics, and dependent on the venue, will determine the discipline of the Cycling within the `Games.

This year the venue was Manchester, and Track cycling a couple of weeks ago, where Ulster once again fared extremely well taking a handful of top 10 individual placings.

The two remaining disciplines not included in the Games – this year being Mountain Bike and Road, are then held as stand-alone events under the British Cycling umbrella.

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Our participation in last weekend`s Road competition got off to a great start with our riders meeting former World Champion Mark Cavendish as they visited the Redbridge Cycling Centre in London for a pre-event recce.

Given that these events are entirely team orientated, team spirit and team competition are extremely important, with the first three riders from each Region counting for overall Regional standings.

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Ulster got off to a brilliant start, moving from 10th to a best-ever third place following the second event – the Street Sprint. This is a 250metre event intentionally replicating a 1 lap distance of a velodrome. Riders are seeded following an individual ride thereafter they compete in wheel-to-wheel in fours through heats, semis and finals.

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We certainly held our own against the best GB had to offer, placing a rider in the 4-up `A` final in both the Boys and Girls event, where Harvey Barnes took a podium 3rd place in the Boys final.

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Unfortunately our pre-event favourite Girl Shenna McKiverigan fell in the qualifying ride putting her out of contention for the remainder of the weekend.

The Team Time Trial saw us slip down the standings to 5th place, following a spill in the Girl`s event which saw Roisin Carter and McKiverigan again hit the deck.

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The final event was Sunday`s Road Race, held over a 2.2km undulating parkland circuit within the Redbridge complex with the Girls event scheduled for 20 laps, and the Boys covering 30.

There was still all to play for with Ulster hoping to maintain a top 6 overall finish, despite the loss of McKiverigan meaning we were starting with only 3 in the Girls event.

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Unfortunately this was reduced to 2 within metres of the start, when a 3-rider pile up saw Roisin Carter again on the ground through no fault of her own. Unfortunately she came off worst, with a trip to the local Emergency Department for a thorough check up and a couple of stitches.

As the Girls race unfolded Ciara Doogan was never far from the action, with the British Champion always on her shoulder. Doogan was always well placed within the first 6 riders and was off the front for a spell with a group of three.

In the closing laps Lauren Dolan slipped off the front to take a fine solo win with over 30 seconds to spare, although not to be outdone Doogan also broke away from the remainder of the 50 rider field to claim an excellent runner-up spot well ahead of the chasers. This is Ulster`s best ever individual finish in any of these events, and is a credit to Ciara`s ability and intelligent riding.

Next up was the Boys race, to be held over 60km in searing heat. Unfortunately Harvey Barnes was one of the first riders to puncture, which saw him playing catch-up for the remainder of the event, and unfortunately not regaining contact with the main field.

Jake Gray however was performing extremely well, and similar to Doogan in the Girls race, was never too far from the front as were Marc Heaney and Conor McCann, with the latter only losing contact in the final couple of
laps. Gray`s hard riding paid off, eventually finishing 6th overall, matching his result in Friday`s opening Criterium event.

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When the final points were tallied up, and penalties applied– mainly for the unsafe practice when descending, which some youngsters are worryingly copying from the Pro`s – Ulster came out 8th overall missing out on our top 6 target by the small margin of 25 points.

Overall an extremely successful outing, albeit with a couple of walking wounded on the journey home, and for many a high note on which to end their Youth Cycling career as 6 of our 8-rider squad move in to the Junior ranks for 2015 with this having been their final appearance as Youths.

Report Anthony Mitchell
Posted by Marian Lamb
Pics by Tommy Heaney

For more of Tommy's pictures of the events Follow him on Facebook

2Final Regional Positions.
1 North West
2 Central
3 Scotland
4 Wales
5 South East
6 Yorkshire
7 Eastern
8 Ulster
9 West Midlands
10 South West
11 South
12 East Midlands
13 North East

Ulster`s top individual Performances
2nd.      Ciara Doogan.          Road Race
3rd .      Harvey Barnes.        Street Sprint
4th .      Ciara Doogan.          Street Sprint
6th.       Ciara Doogan.          Criterium
6th.       Jake Gray.                 Criterium
6th        Jake Gray.                 Criterium
7th.       Marc Heaney             Street Sprint
9th.       Jake Gray.                 Street Sprint.
10th.    Shauna McFadden.    Street Sprint
10th.    Ulster Boys.               Team Time Trial

On behalf of the managers, Nicola McKiverigan and myself; a huge thanks to the riders, and parents for their commitment and support in the run up to and during the event.

Anthony.

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