Destiny fulfilled as Eve McCrystal gets her Irish title in style

Posted on: June 30th, 2018

Eve McCrystal Irish cycling champion

She’s done it: Eve McCrystal proves too strong in the slightly uphill finish to claim the elite road race crown. She’s a decorated rider already, but this was her first elite crown and she enjoyed it (Photo: Sean Rowe)


Eve McCrystal becomes Irish cycling champion


Eve McCrystal won yet another title in her illustrious cycling career today as she became the elite national road race champion for the first time.

Today’s win is the biggest victory of the Garda CC rider’s solo career.

The Paralympic and double World Champion tandem pilot defeated Lydia Gurley (Aerocoach) and Alice Sharpe (Torelli-Brother) to the finish in Coolaney, Co Sligo.

Chapter 2’s Kelly Murphy was the final rider to cross the line in what was a four-woman sprint.

After the controversy of last year, when the women were forced to stop to allow the men pass, this was an intense battle that produced quality racing.

And even the winner looked unsteady on her feet afterwards, such was the effort requited to win.

McCrystal’s victory came after she collected a bronze medal for her efforts in the time trial on Thursday.

The women’s road race took place over six 17.56-kilometre laps on Saturday afternoon.

The opening few laps saw a number of attempted breakaways. However, all of them would prove short-lived.

A more significant attack finally happened with about three laps to go when a group of five took a lead.

This leading group was packed with quality including Kelly Murphy who won the TT crown on Thursday.

Also in the move was National Road Series leader Katherine Smyth. Track star Lydia Gurley was also there, as were sprinter Alice Sharpe and of course eventual winner Eve McCrystal.

The front group quickly extended their lead to 2:35, partially thanks to a crash in the second group; but they were well clear anyway.

Lydia Boylan (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling), Mia Griffin (VC Ériu) and Orla Walsh (VC Ériu) were the riders who came down in this crash but they were all able to continue.

The front group would not be troubled by the riders behind them which meant the three medallists were certain to come from this group of five.

On the final lap, Kelly Murphy pushed hard to break away from the leading five.

Murphy would fail to get clear on her own, but Katherine Smyth dropped back under the pressure.

This left four riders: Gurley, McCrystal, Murphy and Sharpe to battle it out for the three podium positions.

McCrystal would put in a sensational effort to take the sprint, with Lydia Gurley having to settle for second. Alice Sharpe, meanwhile, took the bronze medal.

Kelly Murphy would be the unfortunate one to miss out on a medal in the sprint.

This was perhaps because of her attacking efforts earlier in the last lap.

For McCrystal it was a question of destiny fulfilled.

She has been a powerhouse for the Irish Paralympic team and has won most of the major road races at home in recent years.

Furthermore, before today she had won six medals at the Irish elite championships; all of them silver or bronze. But today she gets her gold.


Sat 30 June: Senior Women Road Race Champs

Promoted by Eire Og Cycling Club

Collooney, Co Sligo

Elite Women

  1. Eve McCrystal Garda Cycling Club
  2. Lydia Gurley Aerocoach
  3. Alice Sharpe Torelli-Brother
  4. Kelly Murphy Chapter 2
  5. Katherine Smyth Ballymena Road Club