The town that many describe as the heart of Irish cycling, Carrick-on-Suir, is the venue for the next main event on the CyclingIreland Calendar, as the Carrick Wheelers Cup is once again promoted on St. Patrick’s Day. This early season classic, which dates back to 1955, has always been an important goal for many of Ireland’s top riders and the upcoming event promises to attract a quality field, with participants from as far away as Kerry and Dublin expected to travel to the event.
Iverk Procuce Carrick Wheelers Secretary Paul Lonergan spoke of his delight with the continued success of the event with entries almost trebling in recent years. “We had an entry of just over 60 riders competing in races during the early 2000s here in the town, but going on figures from the last two years, we can expect in the region of 180 riders signing-on this weekend.” Paul continued - “It’s thanks to our continued sponsorship association with Waterford’s Thompson’s Funeral Home, now in its third year, which ensures the club can continue to offer Irish cyclists another top-quality cycling event.”
This year’s race is on the usual circuit of Carrick – Glenbower – Kilheffernan – Kilsheelan – Carrick, and three laps gives the riders 100 kilometres of testing racing at this early stage of the season. It is a great circuit for spectators as there are many back roads that can be used to cross over and back, and get to see the cyclists at different points of the circuit, and with the tough uphill finish there is sure to be some great racing. There will be three separate races, with the first and second category riders in the main event; while there will be two support races, one each for both the 3rd and 4th category riders.
All races will start and finish at the top of the hill on Sir John’s Road for safety reasons, and sign on will be at the Carrick United Clubhouse, Coolnamuck Road, Carrickbeg from 9.00am, with racing starting at 11.30am.
Picking a winner of this CyclingIreland Classic provides much debate with former winners of Waterford local Robin Kelly and Kerryman Sean Lacey, installed as favourites once again, both with wins already in 2012!
Hopes of the promoting club rest with club stalwart Martin O’Loughlin and former winner John O’Shea in the main event, both with impressive top 5 placings at last weekend’s Rás Luimní in Limerick, while upcoming junior talent Sean Hahessy and local postman Ray Cullen expected to figure prominently in the support races.