Stickybottle

John Hodge storms in for repeat Irish road race champs win

Posted on: September 9th, 2018

That winning feeling: John Hodge realises he’s just won the gold medal in the Irish Masters 40 Road Race Championships (Photo: John Coleman)

 

John Hodge has today done what few Irish riders have managed to achieve; won back-to-back national titles on the road.

The Panduit Carrick Wheelers man burst out of a five-man breakaway to claim the Masters 40 Irish road race crown in Shannon, Co Clare, this afternoon.

He repeated the victory he had taken in the same event last year in Wexford.

And the 42-year-old said he was delighted to win, especially on a course that he didn’t think was suited to him.

The racing, seven laps of a flat 17km course, was marked by aggression from the off.

However, because the course was flat, but for a drag up through the finish area, none of the early moves were staying clear.

That changed around the fourth lap when 10 riders broke free. They built a gap of some 45 seconds but were reeled in before the final lap started.

And coming towards the end of the penultimate lap, three men took flight.

They powered up the incline on the finishing straight and the defending champion sensed the train was leaving the station.

With Dermot Radford (Tipperary Wheelers) one of the leading trio, Hodge didn’t want to give them too much leeway.

So he attacked after them through the finish line as they took the bell. And when he got across to the leaders had had just one rider in tow.

In the group with him, as well as Radford, was Drew McKinley; the Newry Wheelers man crowned Ulster champion last weekend.

Also there was Gareth McCullough of Armagh Down CC and James O’Connor of Greenmount Cycling Academy.

They put their heads down and hit out for home, building a gap that neared 30 seconds.

However, the bunch behind wasn’t finished. And when a chase picked up in that pack the breakaway’s advantage came down a little.

However, the five out front would have their day; Hodge leading out the sprint at the finish to win.

McKinley took the silver and McCullough the bronze. Radford was in the loneliest place of all; fourth in a championships race.

O’Connor was 5th, losing five seconds in the push to the line at the end of the contest.

And just three seconds behind him, Robin Kelly of Waterford Racing took the sprint for 6th place; the top A1 rider left to wonder what might have been.

Full results are available by following this link or are embedded below.

 

[googlepdf url=”http://www.stickybottle.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/M40RR.pdf”]

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