Stickybottle

Fiona Meade romps to national crown after thrilling contest

Posted on: September 20th, 2014

Fiona Meade storms in to take the elite women’s National Road Race Championships in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath (Photo by JimmyMcElroy.com)

 

 

By Brian Canty

Fiona Meade is the new elite women’s national road race champion after a brilliant race in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath, this afternoon.

The Cork woman riding for Blarney CC, who took a stage win and the points classification at the An Post Rás na mBan last week, won today in a sprint from a reduced group.

Former champion Olivia Dillon (Colavita Fine Cooking) took the silver medal with the ever-strong Louise Moriarty (Look Mum No Hands) rounding out the podium.

It was a huge win for the Cork-based physiotherapist who told stickybottle after Rás na mBan that she would be going all out for victory today, having come into some really good form of late.

Meade was one of the most active riders in the bunch today, making all the key selections on the gruelling 114-kilometre course.

 

Eventual runner-up, Olivia Dillon attacks off the front of the main field; just one of her many efforts to break the race apart (Photo with thanks to Ronan Fox)

 

And she was there at the finish when it counted, choosing her moment to perfection and powering up the drag to the line well clear of the others for the biggest win of her career.

Meade has been on the podium at the nationals before; taking bronze in 2010 in Sligo when Dillon took the coveted title.

Dillon rode a superb race as well today, but like everyone else in the field she was undone by Meade’s renowned finishing surge. Dillon adds today’s silver to a bronze from 2012, silver from 2009 and gold in 2010.

For Moriarty, it was another case of what might have been. But she too rode a tactically astute race. Amazingly, this was her seventh medal from the national road race championships since 2002. She has won three silvers and today takes home her fourth bronze.

Just 37 riders took to the start-line today and the opening laps proved to be very cagey, with a lot of marking of the big favourites going on.

Indeed Meade, Eve McCrystal (Garda CC) and Dillon were three of those expected to be aggressive today and they did not disappoint, launching some vicious attacks in the early stages.

 

 

However, nothing was sticking and by the halfway point it was all still together, though a group of around 10 did eventually tail off the back, such was the pace up front.

Time and again, a group broke clear only for a lack of cohesion to spoil it, not to mention some strong riding by the likes of Orwell Wheelers and Aquablue CC’s Fran Meehan, who was eager to do well on what were effectively home roads for her.

With two laps to go it was down to around 20 riders in the bunch and Dillon and McCrystal both went to work at the front, attacking and counter-attacking. Their aggression further reduced the group, which numbered less than 10 inside the final lap.

Clearly nobody wanted to take Meade to the line after her sprint stage win and podium places in Co Clare last week.

Dillon and McCrystal tried repeatedly to get away in the closing stages but it was all in vain as Meade kept her cool, handled her tag as hot favourite in the bunch sprint and romped home for a victory that will live in her memory forever.

We’ll have more later.

 

Brief Results

1 Fiona Meade (Blarney CC)
2 Olivia Dillon (Colavita Fine Cooking)
3 Louise Moriarty (Look Mum No Hands)

 


 

 

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