Magestic Mel Spath rewrites the rules with stage win and yellow in Ballinrobe Two Day

Posted on: August 11th, 2013

Ryan Sherlock leads wife and eventual stage winner Mel Spath on the opening stage of the Ballinrobe Two Day today, Saturday (Photo:



In what must rank as the best performance by an Irish rider on home roads this season, national champion Mel Spath has rewritten the rules for women racing against men after taking the opening stage and the first yellow jersey of the Ballinrobe Two Day.

The three-stage event, which features some of the best elite male riders in the Irish bunch, saw Spath combine with husband Ryan Sherlock today, Saturday, to simply ride away from the rest of the field.

After a display marked by very powerful riding and canny tactics, the US-based Team TIBCO professional not only holds the yellow jersey going into the time trial stage tomorrow morning, Sunday, but also has the points and the KOH jerseys; boasting a considerable lead in the latter.

A number of women have performed very well against their male counterparts in Ireland down the years – Siobhan Horgan, Susan O’Meara and Clare Moore being just three names that spring to mind. However, Spath’s taking of today’s stage in the west, and with it the yellow jersey, in an event featuring A1 men is a first for a woman on Irish roads to the best of our knowledge.

While Spath undoubtedly benefitted enormously from the handicap her group were given, not to mention some really strong riding by breakaway companion and husband Sherlock, neither of those factors could diminish what was a truly remarkable ride.

She blasted clear of the women’s limit group at the bottom of the second categorised climb of the day – Lally’s Mountain – and took maximum points at the top. Spath then put into action the engine that has seen her crowned National Road Race Champion for the past two years since converting from MTB; staying clear alone to take maximum points on each of the next four climbs.

The women’s group she took flight from had started the day with 10 minutes on the A3 group and a further three minutes on the combined A1-A2 pack.

The first prime at 16km was taken by Amy Brice of DID Electrical and the first 3rd category climb at Kinuary was taken by Spath. Behind the women, the Nicolas Roche Performance Team had riders jumping away from the A3 group, with the A1s & A2s closing fast.

At the bottom of the 1st cat Lally’s Mountain, Spath made her decisive move. On the same climb husband Sherlock (Polygon Sweet Nice) went to work, tearing apart the group he was in after it had mopped up many of the A3 riders.

He set off in pursuit of the breakaway that had pulled clear of that A3 bunch, which also featured some of the women they had caught from the limit group Spath had dropped.

By the third climb a clear picture was developing; Mel Spath riding for the TIBCO team had over two minutes to spare on the hard chasing Sherlock (Polygon Sweet Nice) and the NRPT duo of Danny  Bruton and Fintan Ryan, Dara Freely (Donamon), Castlebar’s Cale Coen,  Aaron McBride (North Pole) and Ciaran O’Grady (TMR@toachimhouse).

Behind these, the race had fragmented, with no real peloton emerging until later on the opening stage of three.

On the last climb of Maam Trasna, Spath still had over 1 minute on the chase group. It was on the descent approaching Finney that Sherlock dropped those he was with, and bridged across to his wife. From there they drove on to the finish, with Sherlock doing the lion’s share of the work.

They leading duo made it to the finish in Ballinrobe with a clear lead, where Spath took the win from Sherlock after 80km.

And after the A3 breakaway had been caught by the strongest of the A1 and A2 scratch group, it was Eoin Morton of UCD who took the sprint for 3rd place from Padraig Marrey of Western Lakes CC.

The group sprinting for third were 1:50 adrift of the leading duo; a handsome cushion heading into tomorrow morning’s TT stage for Spath and Sherlock before the race concludes with a road stage tomorrow afternoon.

With time bonuses, Spath leads by two seconds from Sherlock, with Morton 1:54 down in third and Marrey at 1:55 in fourth and equal on time with the 20 other riders he finished with today.


Ballinrobe Two Day, August 10th & 11th

Stage 1: Ballinrobe – Ballinrobe 8okm

1 Spath,Mel Team Tibco 2h14’43”

2 Sherlock,Ryan Polygon Sweet Nice

3 Morton,Eoin UCD @01’50”

4 Marrey,Padraig Western Lakes CC

5 Ryan,Fintan NRPT

6 Brennan,David Castlebar CC

7 Bailey,Darragh Donamon Dynamos

8 Whelan,Eoin Seven Springs

9 O’Malley,Sean Western Lakes CC

10 Aaron,McBride North Pole

11 O’Grady,Ciaran PMR@Toachim House

12 Bruton,Danny NRPT

13 McCarthy,David NRPT

14Perry,Mark Dirt wheels Cycles

15 Scanlon,Enda Inisfree Wheelers

16 Jeuken,Chris Black Rose Racing

17 Kelly,Mark Western Lakes CC

18 Breheny,Joseph UCD

19 Clogher,Alan TC Racing

20 Freeley,Darragh Donamon Dynamos

21 Coen,Cale Castlebar CC

22 Brice,Amy DID Electrial

23 Ryder,Mike Galway Bay CC

24 Mc Greevy,James Westport Covey

25 Creighton,Damien Blanch Wheelers

26 Clifford,Eoghan Galway Bay CC @01’56”

27 Brady,Michael Westport Covey @04’19”

28 Nugent,David Seven Springs CC

29 Shannon,Mark Burren CC

30 Dumoulin,Laurent Kanturk

31 Kelly,Donal Galway Bay CC

32 Joyce,Derek Galway Bay CC

33 O’Connell,Keith Westport Covey

34 Moffit,Stephen Phoenix CC

35 Bogues,John Phoenix CC

36 O’Grady,Aidan Burren CC

37 Long,Shane Burren CC

38 Mc Crystal,Eve Garda

39 Colleran,John Dolmen CC

40 Moran,Gary Castlebar CC

41 Mc Kenna,Sean UCD

42 Finnegan,Stephen Botteccia RC

43 Mc Inerary,Sean Galway Bay CC

44 Russell,Judith Phoenix Ladies Team

45 O’Donnell,Brian West Coast Wheelers

46 Beddis,Delia Dirt wheels Cycles

47 Tweed,David         Phoenix CC

48 Behan,Darach Galway Bay CC

49 Gill,Geraldine Bohermeen CC

50 Hooton,Richard Visit Nenagh       @05’01”

51 O Connell,Paul Kilmallock CC @05’23”

52 Corcoran,Liam NRPT @07’13”

53 Martin,Brian Seven Springs @08’55”

54 O’Grady,Martin PMR@Toachim House

55 Brody,David Castlebar CC

56 Keogh,Paul Eire OG

57 Monahan,Greg Seven Springs

58 Reade,Aidan Black Rose racing

59 Conroy,Rory Castlebar CC

60 Flanagan,Michael Western Lakes CC

61 Mc Mahon,Eddie Seven Springs

62 Kennedy,Roisin Adamstown @11’23”

63 Flaherty,JJ Western Lakes CC @12’04”

64 Mc Grath,David Castlebar CC

65 Loftus,Alan Planet Tri

66 Gibson,Jonathon Team @17’02”

67 Forde,Peter Team

68 Hull,Karen Phoenix Ladies Team @18’37”

69 Rea,Julie Phoenix Ladies Team

70 Hewitt,Geoff Phoenix CC

71 Stephens,Niamh UCD

72 Beazley,Graham Black Rose Racing

73 Walsh,Michael Castlebar CC @20’36”

74 Usher,Cathal Western Lakes CC @20’38”

75 Walsh,Thomas Castlebar CC

76 Bourke,Tony Galway Bay CC@ s/t

77 Harrington,Paul Dolmen CC @25’42”


Team General Classification

1 Western Lakes CC 6h49’39”

2 NRPT = s/t

3 UCD @02’29”

4 Galway Bay CC @02’35”

5 Westport Covey @04’58”

6 Burren CC    @07’27”

7 Phoenix CC = s/t

8 Castlebar CC2 @09’34”

9 Seven Springs @14’10”

10 Castlebar CC @17’19”

11 Black Rose Racing @23’52”

12 Phoenix Ladies Team @36’03”


Points Classification

1 Spath,M 18

2 Sherlock,R 9

3 Brice,A 5

4 Morton,E 2

5 Coen,C 1

6 Mc Crystal,E 1


King of the Mountains

1 Spath,M 21

2 Brice,A 12

3 Beddis,D 7

4 Mc Crystal,E 5

5 O’Grady,C 4

6 Sherlock,R 3

7 Gill,G 3

8 Ryan,F 2

9 Russell,J 2

10 Bruton,D 1

11 Kennedy,R 1