Ulster Cycling News

Top Class Field for Tour of Ulster

With Easter late this year the interval between the
P&O Irish Sea Tour of the North which finished on
Tuesday last, with another great win for Tommy Evans,
and the other big stage race here, the 3-day Tour of
Ulster, is less than a fortnight away.

With the the 8-day FBD Milk Ras only two weeks later,
the Tour of Ulster has probably the best field of
first category riders for any other stage race.

Southern teams entered include the Earl of Desmond
from Tralee who have past stage and KOH winner Paul
Griffin, Cycleways Lee Strand with Eugene Moriarty,
just pipped in the 3-day Ras Mumham at Easter by Kevin
Dawson. Ray Clarke is another strong contender.

The Irish Road Club from Dublin sent two teams and
have in their ranks top hitters like David Peelo, Greg
Swinard, Mick Mulcahy and another past stage winner
Eddie O'Donoghue.

Top Munster club Cidona Carrick Wheelers include
another past stage winner Brian Kenneally and the 2001
winner Timmy Barry, Dublin Wheelers have one of last
year's form riders Andrew Dnnellan while Leeside Cork
have Brian Lynch. Other southern clubs entered are
Bray Wheelers, Newbridge and North Kildare (with past
Tour de France finisher Laurence Roche).

Of the Ulster entries East Antrim CC have the team who
rode so well in the P&O Tour with the Morrow brothers,
Willie Hamilton and Gary Cranston. Cookstown Harps
have sprinter Paul Bloomer, Orchard Wheelers have 2001
Ulster Road Race Champion Keith Gallagher and the
Classic Walls team are headed by Jonathan Dempsey,
10th in the P&O Tour. Northern Dave Kane Cycles have
P&O Tour stage winner Owen Jeffries, Paul Kane and
Brian Stewart who also had a great race last weekend.

Tour of Ards winner Matthew Ward is the sole Phoenix
representative but the 21 year old Crumlin rider also had a great
Tour of the North race finishing 9th on G.C. and runner-up in the
King of the Hills competition.

Last year the fight for overall honours developed into
a struggle between the Total Cycling.com team and the
Isle of Man with Denis Easton leader on the road on
the final stage only for the Manxmen to stage a
fightback which gave Rob Holden the final yellow
jersey.The Team Isle of Man Squad for the 2003 event is
Christian Varley,Elliott Baxter,Graeme Hatcher ,Mark Cavendish
and Andrew Cook

The Belfast based team now Total Cycling Lindsay Ford
dominated the P&O Tour but will be without Tommy
Evans, back in France, and Gary Crory, who will be on
international duty. The Manxmen were at the Ras Mumham
where Andy Roche was 10th overall. The Total boys will
rely on in-form Easton, Brendan Doherty, in the top 8
last weekend and Brendan Graham who was top vet and
Mark Kiernan.

The race gets underway next Saturday at Craigavon
Water Sports Centre (12.00) with a 95m. stage to
Downpatrick via Portadown, Armagh, (KOH), Markethill,
Crankey Hill (KOH), Newry, Mayobridge, Hilltown,
Castlewellan (KOH), Clough, Killough, (KOH),
Ardglass, Strangford, Downpatrick (finish at Abbey
Lodge Hotel 3.40 approx.)

Sunday’s stage is 80 miles from Down Leisure Centre,
Downpatrick (11.00) via Castlewellan (KOH), Hilltown
(KOH), Newry, Crankey Hill (KOH) , Markethill,
Deadman’s Hill (KOH), Newtownhamilton, Fews Forest
(KOH), Armagh, Portadown, Craigavon (finish at
Craigavon Water Sports Centre 2.00 approx.)

Monday’s 76 miles stage leaves Craigavon Water Sports
Centre (12.00) with a 70m. stage via Portadown,
Armagh, then 2 laps Primate’s Wall (KOH),
Newtownhamilton, Fews Forest (KOH), Keady, Armagh,
returning to Craigavon via Portadown (Old Tour of
Armagh course) (finish Craigavon Water Sports Centre
2.00 approx).

Report: Jim Traynor
Pics; Marian Lamb

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