Avid readers of Banbridge CC’s local road results may have noticed a name missing over the summer months. Racking up a string of promising results and remarkable wins in the early season, including overall victory in the Lakeland 3 day stage race in Enniskillen, Cameron McIntyre burst onto the 2015 road season as a first year junior and immediately caught the eye of numerous teams and selectors. Riding the Tour of the North at Easter as part of a young Banbridge CC team in the service of Yellow jersey wearer Gareth McKee and White Jersey and Under 23 victor Mark Downey set young McIntyre up and gave him some hard race miles from which to springboard his summer campaign.
One selector who liked what he had seen in the Banbridge lad was Dany Blondeel of the Belgian Project – a Flandrian native now living in Northern Ireland and using his Belgian contacts to host Ulster riders for periods of racing in what is widely known as the heartland of road racing. A guest family was found and the Banbridge lad was off to spend the summer to test his cycling legs against the best junior riders on the racing circuit. With another Ulster rider for company, Mark Heaney of Carn Wheelers, the lads didn’t waste any time in making their presence felt and were consistently seen at the sharp end of the racing and infiltrating breaks on a regular basis. As well as great experience, the racing and performances also gave McIntyre the confidence that he could mix it at the highest level.
Selection for the Ulster Team at the Junior Tour of Wales alongside club mate James Curry followed, both performing well and achieving among the very top results of the Irish riders present in what is acknowledged to be one of the hardest Junior stage races in Europe and a regular for producing future starts of world cycling. A guest spot with the Nicolas Roche Performance Team at the Junior Tour of Ireland resulted in top 5 placings against a strong international field and confirmed McIntyre among the top tier of Ireland's current crop of promising Juniors.
The Nicolas Roche Performance Team is Ireland’s top International team aimed at developing juniors in preparation for making the step to becoming full time international athletes and is supported by Team Sky’s professional Nicolas Roche. Previous members of the team have included Banbridge CC’s Mark Downey and Matthew Teggart, both of whom have gone on to ride with French team AC Bosontine this year. Team Principal Phillip Finnegan was obviously impressed with Banbridge CC’s latest Junior and McIntyre was once again in Roche’s Team jersey and off to the latest round of the European Nation’s Cup at the Tour de Morbihan where he would once again be up against the elite of Junior European cycling.
Following a week of rest the form was good and the legs once again feeling fresh and ready for the task at hand on French soil. The race headed out for a larger 100km circuit in Brittany before tackling 6 shorter laps which included the crucial climb. McIntyre has always been suited to the climbs and this was one he believed could showcase his attributes and good form on the international stage. Placed in a strong 10 man breakaway, holding a 1 minute advantage over the chasing peleton, he was well placed to secure what would undoubtedly be a career best result to date. Unfortunately a sharp speed bump with 10km to go resulted in his chain bouncing off and snapping. The team mechanics assurance of the freak mechanical mishap did little to console the heartbreak. While ultimately he would return empty handed the display will not go unnoticed and as teams begin to build their roster for 2016 Cameron McIntyre will be at the top of many shopping lists giving him options to weight up over the off season.
However while many will enjoy the downtime in the early winter Cameron will switch his focus to the Cyclo Cross season, which has just kicked off with the Kinning Cycles GP in Belfast. There was little in the way of transition needed for McIntyre and when the flag was dropped he was immediately breaking clear of the field with eventual winner Glen Kinning. He would ultimately be overhauled by the two pillars of Irish Cyclo Cross as the race progressed – Robin Seymour & Roger Aiken, but came in best of the rest and easily the first Junior rider on the day. It’s very early days in the Cyclo Cross season but many would predict McIntyre’s aim of inheriting James Curry’s Junior National Champs jersey in January a very realistic one.