Lauren Creamer scored her first win of the season in Saturday’s round 5 of the Cycling Ireland National Road Series at the John Beggs Memorial Road Race.
Creamer, based in Birmingham with Brotherton Cycles, had been in Ireland in June for the National Road Racing Championships, securing fourth in the Individual Time Trial, but was riding in the National Road Series for the first time.
The hilly 30km circuit around the County Down town of Dromore, caused a split in the Women’s peloton early in the race, leaving 10 off the front, who would go on together almost until the line.
“It was tough at times, and watching how the series has gone in the past, I expected a split,” she said. “I settled in and, being used to much bigger groups, I had no problem sitting at the back, following the wheels.
“Usually when you’re caught at the back, it’s behind 160 riders, rather than six, so I knew that if anything was going to go, from there I wouldn’t have any problem getting to the front.”
As the kilometres ticked by, the 10, including series leaders Aine Donegan, Katharine Smyth, and Eve McCrystal, worked hard to maintain their advantage in windy and sometimes wet conditions. Creamer went in to autopilot and plotted her course for the final.
“It slowed down quite a bit and the legs went to sleep,” she said. “Then when we turned right, back to the finish, there was a little attack, that woke them up. I had been thinking about the finish around the course. Sometimes I think about the finish and I don’t stick to the plan, so I stuck to the plan this time and it worked, and it ended up in a massive gap.
“I hadn’t ridden the drag, but I’d seen it as we were coming past to get to the start. It was either do or die, but I’d have been gutted if I didn’t implement what I wanted to do.”
Creamer is set to return to Ireland in September with a view to riding Ras na mBan, and the final round of the National Road Series – the Red Hand Trophy in Broughshane. Donegan’s sprint for second means the Scott-Orwell Wheelers rider extends her lead in the National Road Series overall standings over John Beggs fourth Eve McCrystal and third Katharine Smyth.
Leading under 23, Dermot Trulock, won the Men’s National Road Series event, defying an earlier mechanical to make the day’s winning break – and then make that count.
The 20-year-old explained: “I got a puncture at the start of the race and had to get back on, when I did, there was a group of four up the road. I hopped across to the move and we got away.
“We worked well, Darnell [Moore] was strong, they were all strong, and we got the gap out. I felt confident in my sprint, so I left it to come to that and was happy enough when it worked out.”
Riding for Lucan Cycling Road Club, Trulock comfortably fellow breakaway companion Lindsay Watson (Powerhouse Sport), who just pipped Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles) for second. Ben Walsh was the last of the breakaway to finish, taking fourth, Dillon Corkery and Ronan McLaughlin, who had been chasing them through the headwinds, next home.
National Road Series leader Conor Hennebry (Viner-Caremark-Pactimo) finished eighth to extend his lead over Jamie Blanchfield (Panduit Carrick Wheelers), now joined on the podium by Saturday’s seventh Sean Moore (Team Gerard-DHL).
The penultimate round of the Men’s and Women’s Cycling Ireland National Road Series will take place in Laragh, County Wicklow, on Saturday, September 1, at the Friends First Laragh Classic. The race, hosted by St. Tiernan’s Cycling Club, will uniquely finish atop the famous Wicklow Gap climb.