Brilliant Boylan holds off McCrystal to retain Irish road crown

Posted on: June 26th, 2016

Lydia Boylan is the national road race champion for the second year in succession after winning today’s showdown in Kilcullen. The Team WNT rider edged Eve McCrystal (ASEA-Wheelworx) and 2014 champion Fiona Meade (Blarney Stone)

 

By Brian Canty

Lydia Boylan has won the women’s elite national road race championships for the second year in-a-row by edging the reduced bunch sprint that decided today’s contest in horrid conditions in Kilcullen, Co. Kildare.

The Team WNT rider had been part of a lasrg break that escaped on the second of three 31-kilometre laps and stayed away for the rest of the day.

Most of the big names were in there, including the winner of Thursday’s time-trial Anna Turvey (Tyneside Vagabonds) but Boylan proved too quick in the gallop to the line, just like last year in Omagh.

Second across the line was Eve McCrystal with Fiona Meade rounding out the podium.

 

 

How it unfolded….

Today’s three-lap, 95-kilometre contest attracted a field of 45 riders with heavy rain greeting the riders at the sign-on and staying with them throughout most of the race.

However, such was the early pace the bunch wouldn’t have taken long to warm up and with two climbs (Brewel Hill and Old Kilcullen) on each lap, a real war of attrition was expected.

By the end of that first lap the group was down to less than 30 with most of the big names in there sitting tight.

One of those hot favourites was Eve McCrystal (ASEA-Wheelworx) and a mechanical on that first lap was definitely what she wouldn’t have wanted.

But she managed to get back to the leaders without too much fuss.

National champion Lydia Boylan (Team WNT) was obviously keen to shake things up and with Lauren Creamer (Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa) they set about making the race as hard as possible by setting a strong tempo at the front.

On the second lap a decisive split happened when over a dozen riders broke off the front and began putting big time into what was left of the peloton.

One rider who missed the move was time-trial champion Anna Turvey (Tyneside Vagabonds) but she eventually managed to bridge.

In the move were the aforementioned Boylan, McCrystal Creamer and Turvey, Katharine Smyth (Team Madigan CC), Orla Montague (Dublin Wheelers), Fiona Guihen (Irish Centre for Cycling), Fiona Meade (Blarney Stone), Michelle Geoghegan (Scott-Orwell Wheelers), Aideen Keenan (Scott-Orwell Wheelers), Lydia Gurley (Aerocoach), Eileen Burns (Ballymena RC), Sinead Oakes and Grace Young (both De Ronde van Cork)

The gap to those leaders hovered between 20 and 50” for a good spell but with 20 kilometres to go it eventually crept over a minute.

Guihen lost contact and so too did a number of others but heading for the finish there were still 11 in the escape.

They were Geoghegan, Boylan, Turvey, Gurley, Keenan, MCrystal, Burns, Meade, Young, Smyth and Creamer and with 1’35” on the next group it was evident the winner would come from the break.

They came under the red kite still in tact after a volley of attacks in the final kilometres but just like 12 months ago the race was decided in a reduced bunch sprint and once again it was Boylan who showed all of her experience – and finishing speed to take a marvellous win to the delight of her travelling support.

More later…

 

Brief Results

Gold: Lydia Boylan (Team WNT)

Silver: Eve McCrystal (ASEA-Wheelworx)

Bronze: Fiona Meade (Blarney Stone CC)

 

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