Irish road race champs reveals first big pro name on start list
The breakaway heads towards the final of last year’s championships in Kilcullen. The organisers of this year’s title races have already landed a big name (Photo: Sean Rowe)
Having been absent from the National Road Championships in recent years, Sam Bennett will go for the title this year in Wexford.
The organisers have confirmed the Bora-hansgrohe fastman will definitely be in the south east on the last weekend in June.
- Sam Bennett takes first WorldTour win with outrageous late kick
- Roche downs young guns Dunbar and Mullen for TT gold
Bennett is one of the most popular Irish pros for many years. He has already won a stage of Paris-Nice this season.
His confirmation for the elite and U23 combined men’s road race is a huge boost for the 2017 promotion.
Some of the biggest names have skipped the championships in recent years.
The Tour de France begins the following weekend. And because it is more important than ever for the pros, some of the Irish riders have preferred not to travel for the championships.
Sam Bennett takes a stage of Paris-Nice, his first win in a WorldTour race. He will be a huge draw for the Wexford championships.
Sam Bennett is riding the Giro d’Italia this year. It is still not certain that he will not ride the Tour de France.
But clearly he is confident he will be able to ride the championships even if he gets the call up for the Tour.
Bennett is the former Irish U23 road race champion, having won the title in 2010 and 2011.
And though he will undoubtedly face some tough opposition in Wexford in June, he will go to the start line one of the favourites.
Nicolas Roche took the road and TT titles last year. He claimed the TT crown from Eddie Dunbar and Ryan Mullen.
And he clinched the road title with a late attack to drop the breakaway that saw him finish solo.
Matt Brammeier took 2nd with first-year senior Michael O’Loughlin taking bronze and the U23 title.
We’ll have lots more on the championships very shortly.