MEATH rider Mark Dowling and Paralympic World Champion pilot Eve McCrystal took top honours at Round 5 of the Cycling Ireland National Road Series in Dromore, County Down on Saturday.

For Dowling it was a victory he had been trying to achieve for 10 years, Banbridge Cycling Club’s John Beggs Memorial Road Race enjoying it’s 48th edition this year. But Dowling’s race was nearly over at the start.

“I had a front mech problem at the start, so I spent the first lap chasing,” Dowling said. “I think I spent most of the day on the back foot. Many times during the race I actually thought about packing it in, because I didn’t feel like I really had the legs, but coming towards the end you always get that extra bit of motivation.”

He added: “It’s a race I’ve been trying to win for 10 years, so once I got within touching distance of the win, when there was just four of us, I just gave it everything. It was very close at the finish; I think it was down to pure grit, because as I said it’s one I’ve wanted for many, many years.”

Dowling missed the early breakaway, which had looked strong, including Cycling Ireland National Road Series leader James Curry and his Dan team mate Conor Hennebry, and Darnell Moore, who would go on to finish third.

Halfway through the 128km test, Dowling had made it into a chasing group of 12, and with less than 30km to race, he made it into the front group now consisting of Hennebry, Angus Fyffe and David Montgomery. He won by a tyre width on the line, Moore taking third, and Hennebry taking the lead in the Men’s National Road Series.

In the Women’s National Road Series race, an attack by Eve McCrystal on the final of three laps whittled the lead group down to five riders, including McCrystal’s STRATA3/Velo Revolution Racing Team colleague Grace Young, who was wearing the Spin 11 Leaders Jersey.

The five worked together for the final 25km, Maura Claffey from UCD Cycling looking the strongest throughout the 98km. However, Claffey had no answer for McCrystal when she kicked up the final steep drag to the finish line.

Following up her victory in Round 3 of the National Road Series, McCrystal won the Women’s John Beggs Memorial Road Race for the second time in her stellar career. Claffey secured second, ahead of Katharin Smyth in third. Young finished fourth to retain the Women’s National Road Series lead.

The Cycling Ireland National Road Series continues in County Wicklow on Saturday, August 31st at the 7th Laragh Classic, a race Mark Dowling won in 2015.

Results – Men’s John Beggs Memorial Road Race

  1. Mark Dowling – Un-attached
  2. Conor Hennebry – Dan
  3. Darnell Moore – Caldwell Cycles
  4. Angus Fyffe – Caldwell Cycles
  5. David Montgomery – Un-attached
  6. James Curry – Dan
  7. Jody Wright – Phoenix CC
  8. Darragh McCarter – Donegal Bay CC
  9. John Buller – Team Bioracer – DHL – FR Services
  10. Donal Shearer – Phoenix CC
  11. Cian May – Lucan Cycling Road Club
  12. Ronan McLaughlin – Dan
  13. Craig McAuley – Caldwell Cycles
  14. Marc Potts – Un-attached
  15. Mark McGinley – Four Masters CC
  16. Michael McGlynn – Omagh Wheelers CC
  17. Edvin Silovs – North Tipperary Wheelers
  18. Conor Gallagher – Team Bioracer – DHL – FR Services
  19. Bryan Geary – Panduit Carrick Wheelers
  20. Drew McKinley – Newry Wheelers

Results – Women’s John Beggs Memorial Road Race 

  1. Eve McCrystal – STRATA3/VeloRevolution Racing Team
  2. Maura Claffey – UCD Cycling Club
  3. Katharine Smyth – Ballymena Road Cycling Club
  4. Grace Young – STRATA3/VeloRevolution Racing Team
  5. Yvonne Doran – Scott Orwell Wheelers
  6. Agnieszka Wozniak – STRATA3/VeloRevolution Racing Team
  7. Nessa Rochford – DeRonde Van Cork CC
  8. Eileen Burns – Ballymena Road Cycling Club