Mid-race mishap can’t stop Seán Lacey winning big in Blarney

Posted on: April 15th, 2018

Seán Lacey wins Donal Crowley Blarney

After a great group effort, and a team mate’s sacrifice, Seán Lacey powered to solo victory in the Donal Crowley GP in Blarney. Jamie Blanchfield rode very well to the runner-up spot (All Photos by Sean Rowe)


Seán Lacey wins the ‘Donal Crowley’ in Blarney


He may already have a palmares he can dine out on for the rest of his days, but Seán Lacey has shown his legs and hunger are not waning.

At the end of 155km cold and wet kilometres of aggressive racing yesterday, Lacey came out on top in the Donal Crowley Memorial.

And he couldn’t have taken victory without the help of his team after a mishap that might have proven race-ending.

On the third of five laps Lacey snapped a rear gear cable. Former pro rider, and now manager of Lacey’s Viner-Caremark-Pactimo team; Morgan Fox swung into action.

Lacey was already clear in what would prove to be the race-winning breakaway. And so Fox went back to the road his brother Keith and requested his bike, and the shoes to go with it.

Fox loyally obliged; willing to give his ride to maintain the team’s options up the road.

The bike and shoes were then taken back to Lacey and after a quick changeover he was back in the game.

The Blarney CC-promoted race involved a 10km trek out to a 27km circuit. After five laps the racing then headed back the 10km to the finish.

And from gun to flag there was not let-up in the action; the key breakaway going about 10km into the race.

In that move were some very strong riders; a tidy mix of experience, horsepower and emerging young guns.

And anyone who missed the boat had seen their chances fatally wounded.

Lacey was there with three team mates; Matteo Cigala, Conor Hennebry and Aaron Kearney.


Seán Lacey wins Donal Crowley Blarney

Seán Lacey wins Donal Crowley Blarney

Seán Lacey wins Donal Crowley Blarney


Panduit Carrick Wheelers also shown its depth; placing three men in the escape. John Hodge was there along with Jamie Blanchfield and Cathal Purcell.

Stephen Murray (Strata3-VeloRevolution) also made the escape; not for the first time this season.

Former national hill climb champion Conor Kissane was also present, for Killarney CC.

The promoting club had two men in the group; Eoin O’Connell and Colm Sheahan. Furthermore, for Gerard Cycles-DHL; Cian Sutcliffe was also in the move.

The leaders were clear and pulling away for about 10km were their number swelled.

Sean Hahessy made it four up front for Lacey’s squad. And bridging the gap with him was Matthew Sparrow from Carrick.

The breakaway knuckled down for the first two laps before Seán Lacey suffered his mechanical on the following loop.

He would get back into the group with about 5km remaining on lap three; Hahessy staying with Lacey to ensure he got back on without burning too many matches.

When they got back on, it seemed to signal the start of an attacking phase in the race. The plan clearly worked because around midway through the fourth lap Lacey was off the front.

He broke clear with Sparrow, Kissane and Sheahan. About one lap later, and with just half a circuit to go before the turn for home, they were joined by three more.

Making it six riders in the lead were Cigala, Hennebry and Blanchfield. But with about 7km remaining on that final loop the leaders split again.

Lacey forged clear once more; this time with Blanchfield and Hennebry. And that would prove to be the key move.

As they left the circuit and hit the run-in for the finish, the time checks indicated the gap to those behind had grown to one minute.

Blanchfield, who rode a great race, had a mountain to climb with team mates of the calibre of Lacey and Hennebry to contend with.

And with about 1km to the chequered flag, Lacey let rip one more time. He eked out a small gap and held it to win by a couple of seconds.

Blanchfield saw of Rás Mumhan queen stage and overall winner Hennebry for the runner-up spot.

And Cigala would win the sprint for 4th place; completing a dominant ride for Viner-Caremark-Pactimo.

Sparrow was next followed by Kissane, O’Connell, Murray and Sutcliffe, with Hodge rounding out the top 10.

We’ll bring you full results of all races when we have them.