Race: Irish National Elite Road Race Championship
Start/Finish: Omagh/Omagh, Ireland
Distance: 169 kilometers
Omagh, Ireland — Team Novo Nordisk’s Stephen Clancy earned his best result of the season when he finished seventh at Sunday’s Irish National Road Championship in Omagh.
The 169-kilometer race saw a combined field of elite and U23 riders. The race served as Clancy’s debut as part of the elite ranks. At last year’s race, Clancy raced as part of the U23 division and finished just off the podium in fourth place.
“In Ireland, the U23 and elite men’s road races are combined. I was up against the same competition as last year, so I was happy to earn a solid result at my first elite national championship,” Clancy said. “I went into the race uncertain of how the legs would be after taking it easy over the last two weeks. However, I was pleasantly surprised to still have good form.”
The race began aggressively with many attacks in the first few kilometers. When a select group of riders escaped, Clancy bridged up to form a 13-man breakaway. The group worked well together and built a gap of more than five minutes.
“Some of the bigger names in the race had missed the move, so we were keen to push and open our advantage,” Clancy explained. “Thankfully we had plenty of horsepower in the group and were able to hold off the chase groups.”
On the final lap, two riders attacked from the break and extended their gap to over 2:15 on the remaining breakaway. One of these riders, Damien Shaw (Team Asea) went off solo in the final kilometers and held on for the win.
“In the last two laps, we realized we wouldn’t get caught as the gap pushed out to over five minutes, and that was when the aggression really began,” Clancy described. “Unfortunately I was unable to join the attack, but I managed to win the sprint for seventh from a small group of my day-long breakaway companions. It would have been nice to have one more year as a U23 rider and be on the podium. However, I am pleased I made it into the winning breakaway for the third year in a row.”
Results: Damien Shaw (Team Asea) soloed to the win 1:02 ahead of runner-up Edward Dunbar (NFTO). Conor Dunne (An Post-Chain Reaction) rounded out the podium.
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, takes a break from racing over the next several weeks before heading to Italy for a mid-season training camp.