THERE will be plenty of Cork interest at this weekend’s rescheduled National Road Cycling Championships, which will be hosted behind closed doors, by the Newcastle West Wheelers, in county Limerick.
Darragh O’Mahony and Grace Young are among the Cork riders in the hunt for medals.
O’Mahony goes in Saturday’s men’s elite and under 23 road race.
The Rockchapel native was crowned under 23 national champion, when he pedalled to a fifth-place finish overall, in last year’s edition of the race.
O’Mahony, who rides for SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, had the perfect prep for this weekend’s 155km road race, after he won last weekend’s Rás Ceatharlach in fine style.
O’Mahony’s former club, O’Leary Stone Kanturk CC, will be represented by Stephen Gilman, who finished third behind O’Mahony in the race in Carlow.
Shane O’Connell and Colm Sheehan go for Blarney CC, while Strata3 VeloRevolution, under the guidance of Corkman, Aidan Crowley, will have six in the field.
Recent winner of a stage of the Ronde de l‘Isard, Ben Healy, whose grandparents hail from Cork and Waterford, is also in the line-up.
Banteer’s Eddie Dunbar is currently out injured, after fracturing his collarbone at the Tirreno-Adriatico, three weeks ago.
Ireland’s Tour de France hero, and 2019 national champion, Sam Bennett, won’t be out to defend his jersey.
Ireland’s other World Tour professionals, Nicolas Roche and Ryan Mullen, fresh from their efforts at the World Championships, feature among the 87 confirmed starters.
In the junior men’s race, 2019 winner Tom Moriarty is back to compete once again, in the colours of O’Leary Stone Kanturk CC.
The Cork club will be well-represented here, with Sean Barrett, Daniel Yon Hin, Kian O’Connor, Ruairi Murphy, Liam Crowley, Luke Thompson and Arnaud Dumoulin all set to take to the start for the 102km contest.
The women’s 82km elite and masters’ road race take centre stage on Sunday.
Cork’s Grace Young (formerly of De Ronde De Van Cork), who was fourth in the elite and runner-up in the masters’ events in 2019, sporting the colours of Strata3 VeloRevolution, will take her chance yet again.
Last year’s champion, Alice Sharp, is back to defend her title. It should be a race to savour, with the likes of Young’s teammates, Becky Woods and Eve McCrystal also in action, along with Lara Gillespie, Meave Gallagher and Kelly Murphy.
The junior women’s race starts shortly after the elite contest. Last year’s fifth, - when racing for O’Leary Stone Kanturk CC – Lucy O’Donnell, is among those in the line-up.