Ortiz was thrilled with her win in the “Stickybottle.com National Women’s League”
By Caroline Martinez
Former professional Sara Ortiz (Black Rose) may have been forced to play second fiddle to Mel Spath (Cycleways) when the pair went head to head in Dundalk two weeks ago, but the tables were turned in Bohermeen yesterday.
Ortiz, who is newly arrived on the Irish scene, put in a great kick to get ahead of Spath and take victory in the first round of the “Stickybottle.com National Women’s League” at the Co Meath event.
The duo were part of a four-rider group at the head of affairs on the final lap of four in the 68km race. However, when the jumping around started in the final run in, they pulled away from their breakaway companions before Ortiz got the better of Spath at the finish.
Both were in the small scratch group that gave away a two-minute lead to the limit bunch, which consisted of most of the field.
Within minutes of the start Roisín Kennedy was trying to get away with some other riders.
They were brought back after 3km but these early moves were enough to start the winnowing process among the chasers. The attacking riding continued but none of the breakaway attempts were strong enough to do much damage.
Meanwhile, in the limit group Half-Ironman triathlete Vanessa Fenton (Swords CC) and Bronagh Rodgers (LCRC) were not content to wait to be caught by the scratch group and decided to work together to get away.
Sharing the workload, they held a gap of around one minute for most of the race. For a time it looked as though the decisive move of the race had been made and that the pair would be able to stay away and contest the win between them, as behind the scratch group caught the bunch of limit riders.
Perhaps sensing that the leading duo would not being brought back by the bunch, Ortiz and Spath made a decisive move on the third lap and finally managed to bridge across to Fenton and Rodgers. The four then held their advantage through to the last lap of the race.
With one kilometre to go, Spath and Ortiz showed their strength and shed the other two to contest the sprint between them.
In a reversal of the finish of two weeks ago at the Trader’s Cup in Dundalk, Ortiz proved strongest ahead of Spath, taking the win by several bike lengths. Fenton and Rodgers, 15 seconds behind, placed 3rd and 4th respectively.
The rest of the bunch had been well thinned out at that stage after an unfortunate crash that took down Fiona Cooke, with about six riders stuck behind the incident. Those who avoided the spill were still racing hard for the remaining places.
That sprint for fourth place saw Orwell Wheelers demonstrate their strength in depth with the Dublin-based team taking all the placings from fifth to eighth. Sandra Telford was fifth, Ciara Kinch sixth, Anne Dalton seventh, and Aideen Collard rounded out the prizes in eighth.
Ortiz may be new to the Irish racing scene but she’s already making a name for herself as one of the fastest women in the country. She takes the lead in the “Stickybottle.com Women’s National League” and will be wearing the pink leader’s jersey at the start of the next race, in Drogheda, on April 22nd.
(See photos below result)
Stickybottle.com Women’s National League Round 1
McHugh Cup Bohermeen
- Sara Ortiz (Black Rose Racing)
- Melanie Spath (Cycleways)
- Vanessa Fenton (Swords CC)
- Bronagh Rodgers (LCRC )
- Sandra Telford (Orwell Wheelers)
- Ciara Kinch (Orwell Wheelers)
- Anne Dalton (Orwell Wheelers)
- Aideen Collard (Orwell Wheelers)
All photos thanks to Bohermeen CC
Mel Spath (Cycleways) takes second just behind Ortiz
Lucan’s Bronagh Rodgers takes fourth
The scratch group may have been small, but it was effective
Orwell’s Orla Hendron at full tilt
Ortiz is already making her presence felt
The sprint for fifth was an Orwellian affair
There’s no mistaking the Black Rose kit
The flat course lent itself to a speedfest