Irishman finally awarded Gran Fondo win after battle with UCI

Posted on: June 17th, 2016

Chris McCann’s battle for victory was only at the halfway stage when he crossed the line in 1st place in the UK (Photo: Sean Rowe)

 

By Brian Canty

An Irish rider has had to wait almost two weeks before being confirmed as the winner of a qualifying event for the UCI World Masters Gran Fondo road race in Australia in September.

Chris McCann from Derry, riding for Inspired Cycling, raced in one of the six qualifying events in the UK on Sunday June 5th and thought he’d won.

In fact, so did everyone else!

He stood on the top step of the podium after the race and received a gold medal as well as a bunch of flowers.

But five days later he received confirmation of the results and they showed him in second place.

There wasn’t a problem on the day and the runner-up didn’t seek any photo finish.

But McCann was so put out by having his victory taken from him that he sought evidence of the photo finish verdict.

Whether he finished first or second he’d still done enough to qualify for the Grand Fondo in Perth as he was inside the top 25 per cent of riders on the day.

 

On the podium on the day, but McCann had to battle to keep the win he knew was his.

 

He was eventually confirmed as the victor on the basis of the photo finish evidence.

And since he got word of that yesterday he’s started the process of planning to get to Australia in a little less than three months.

“That was my target for this year, to qualify for the World Masters Gran Fondo,” he said.

“I think there are only two ways to qualify; be national champion of your country or ride one of the six qualifying events around the world and finish in the top 25% on any day.

“So I targeted Tour of Cambridgeshire, even though there were 330 riders in it at the start.”

The event was an 84-mile circuit and McCann entered in the 50-54 age category. A cold the week before it wasn’t ideal preparation but that cleared up by race day.

He was feeling good after 20 miles when a few early climbs thinned out the group.

“The wind played a huge part and I was warned to be careful with the crosswinds,” he said the testing British summer conditions.

“The group kept getting whittled down with maybe only 80-90 in the front with 10 miles to go.”

McCann thought he’d missed his chance of the win when he made a huge effort to bridge to a group that went off the front inside the final three miles but he had enough in reserve to go again.

“There was a lot of fighting for positioning but I knew the finish from riding it the day before,” he recalled.

“I knew I needed to get myself to the front so I was fifth or sixth in line and I said if I could get through the last corner with 300 metres to go I’d be okay.

“So when I came into that there were only 20 of us in contention for the line. I gave it everything and just got the last man with maybe 10 metres to go.”

His plan now is to give the Masters 50 road race a rattle at the National Championships next week in Kilcullen after which the Suir Valley Three-Day will be his last big one before heading for Australia.

 

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