“If you offered me a medal now I’d take your hand and all”

Posted on: January 6th, 2017

Paul O’Reilly of UCD-Fitzcycles.ie is one of a number of riders who can challenge for a medal at the elite national cyclocross championships in Tollymore Forest Park, Co. Down this weekend. However, the Dubliner reckons it is defending champion Roger Aiken’s to lose. (Photo: Sean Rowe)


By Brian Canty

One of the main contenders for the elite category in Sunday’s national cyclocross championships in Tollymore Forest Park, Co Down, has said while there are plenty who can challenge for the gold medal, defending champion Roger Aiken is the man to stop.

Paul O’Reilly of UCD-Fitzcycles.ie has been one of the very best on the scene over the last number of years but reckons Aiken has few flaws in his game.

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“Of course he is beatable but he’s very well-drilled, starts hard and leaves little chance for tactical opportunity.

“He is 30 seconds quicker per lap than the remainder of the podium at present,” said an honest O’Reilly.

“But I can’t emphasise enough how many riders will be there or thereabouts.

“I said it last year and people thought I was underestimating myself but I wasn’t; there are a lot of strong guys there and if you offered me a medal now I’d take your hand and all.”

David Conroy, Barry Kellett, David Montgomery and Graham Boyd are others who can go well and O’Reilly is hoping for some mountain bike-style sections to give himself the best chance.

After Sunday he plans to do some mountain bike races but whatever happens, it’ll officially mark the end of the ‘2016’ season for him.

“I’m delighted with the year as a whole,” he said. “I won the first race of 2016 in Mallow and followed my plan well to get fit for Rás Mumhan and then to ride the An Post Rás.

“I was on podium on the most exciting stage in Rás Mumhan and I had a great Rás with the eam doing very well,” he added in reference to Ian Richardson finishing top county rider and Eoin Morton winning a stage.

He’s currently recovering from a cold and is “not looking great for the nationals”, but will give his all nonetheless.

“I was never hell bent on a result,” he admitted. “I’m very much about the performance and being happy with how I ride a race.

“If someone is stronger and they beat you there’s not much you can do other than being happy with your performance.”