Matthew Teggart and Caoimhe O’Brien top the Cycling Ireland National Road Series leaderboards after the duo notched up five straight wins in their first two races of the series.
eggart took a solo win at the inaugural Des Hanlon Memorial at Carlow and repeated the feat on Sunday with another solo drive to the finish line at Knockaderry to win the Darach McCarthy & Co Solicitors Road Race.
The Banbridge man, who now drives for British pro-continental team WIV Sungod, was biding his time in the early stages of the 156km Limerick race when a group of five became clear that included 2021 series winner, Daire Feeley, who had part of his EvoPro Racing team. Buddies mark the peloton behind.
Teggart made his first move with 20km to go, clearly leading a four-man chasing group on the final stretch of the mostly flat course alongside Gareth O’Neill, Mark Dowling and Conn McDunphy, who oversaw the move for teammate Feeley.
As the leading group broke up on the way to the finish, Feeley was the lone survivor in front, still 20 seconds ahead with just two kilometers to go. However, Feeley was hampered by a mechanical problem when Teggart caught his rival in the final kilometer.
“I knew if we didn’t catch Feeley I would probably end up third instead of second,” he said, referring to McDunphy’s chair ride to the line in the chasing group. “I just had to forget about Conn and go for it. We finished within 20 seconds with two kilometers to go and I saw a chance. I gave everything and could lose the boys.”
Teggart caught up with the Roscommon man with just a kilometer to go and went right past him to claim a second solo win of the series.
“It hurt,” he said afterwards. “I worked hard for that. I got so much harder than the Des Hanlon even though it was a much flatter track and easier on paper.”
With maximum points from the first two races of the series, Teggart holds a commanding 27-point lead over UCD’s Conor Murnane in the series, but his continental commitments could see him miss some of the remaining series events.
“I couldn’t be in a better position after two laps,” he admitted. “I’m not sure what’s next but I’m hoping to get that far with my points, even if I have to miss a race abroad I’m still up there in the end.”
In the women’s series, O’Brien took her two victories to Teggart in opposite fashion, using her quick finish to win two group sprints at Carlow and Knockaderry to capture the series leader’s green and white jersey.
“My legs laced up a bit at the end so I was worried,” O’Brien said of Sunday’s quick finish. “But the sprint at the end was great and I was able to hold on to the jersey.”
Using her sprint again wasn’t part of the original plan, but her quick finish was called for after previous attacks were nullified by the peloton.
“It was a hard-hitting track and I did a lot of digging but none of it stuck. It’s only the beginning of the season so I’m just trying to build up. Hopefully I can keep that momentum going. I want to put more trenches and attacks into the races and hope to get a solo win one day too.”
The junior series has seen a ding-dong battle between Westport’s Niall McLoughlin and Panduit Carrick Wheeler’s Patrick O’Loughlin in the first two rounds, with the duo tied on points and the Carrick youngster alone topping the standings after the first two races.
However, both were outsmarted by Navan’s Adam Gilsenan (CC Canturino 1902) on Sunday.
Gilsenan was returning from a stint in Italy to claim victory as he shot clean and held the peloton back in the final four kilometers of the U-18 race.
“I didn’t want to finish for a bunch sprint,” Gilsenan said afterwards. “I was lucky enough to stay away so it couldn’t have gone better. I didn’t race the first race of the series so we’ll see how the next rounds go.”
Gilsenan will be driving on home soil when the next round of the series, the Sean Nolan Memorial Meath Grand Prix, is held at Navan next month.
Men’s National Road Series, Round 2 – A1/A2 Race
1. Matthew Teggart
2. Conn McDunphy
3. Gareth O’Neill
4. Highlight Dowling
6. Dean Harvey
7. Conor Murnane
Round 2 of the Women’s National Road Series
1. Caoimhe O’Brien
2. Erin Grace Creighton
5. Clodagh Ni Gallchoir
6. Gabrielle Glodentye
1. Adam Gilsenan
4. Quillan Donnelly
5. Sam Bolger
6. Conal Scully
7. Luke Moynihan
8. Oisin Ferrity
9. Shane blunder
10. Sam Moloney
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/cycling/icycle/matthew-teggart-and-caoimhe-obrien-double-up-in-national-road-series-41551190.html Matthew Teggart and Caoimhe O’Brien double in National Road Series