On Friday evening Banbridge town’s Newry St will be buzzing with the atmosphere of the Irish Elite National Criterium Champsioships.
Criterium cycle racing is known for its short, fast and explosive action. Held on a 1km circuit over an hour of racing, with intermediate hot spot sprints, it is perfect for the spectator who will see the speeding bunch of 60 elite cyclists approximately every 90 seconds as they lap the town centre.
Event promoters, Banbridge CC, have also secured TV coverage for the event which has attracted the cream of Irish cycling talent including defending National Champion Mark Dowling of Dublin who will be riding for his ASEA Wheelworx team. Joining him will be a strong team including local man Roger Aiken, a previous winner on this course, along with strong man Bryan McCrystal and Declan Mulholland. The ASEA lads will need to be on top of their game however with the likes of former track World Champion Martyn Irvine, who will be riding for McNally Swords, also on the start line along with AmberGreen Tour of Ulster winner Connor Hennebry of Team AquaBlue, who has shown fantastic form of late claiming multiple race victories in Belgium.
There will be plenty of riders for the locals to cheer on too. Banbridge CC fields a strong team of 5 riders led by off-road National Champions Gareth McKee and James Curry. They will be joined by Matt Adair, John Buller and Martin Fitzpatrick, all of whom have already raised their arms in victories this season. David Montgomery will represent his professional team An Post-ChainReactionCycles, while Banbridge men Lindsay Watson and Cameron McIntyre of Plush MTB and the Nicolas Roche Performance Team have both shown great form all year and will be keen to impress in front of a home crowd. Local clubs West Down Wheelers, TVR and Dromara CC are all represented in the almost 60 strong line-up. Roadside support is something that shouldn’t be in shortage!
The Women’s support race, which has also attracted a high quality entry list, will start at 7pm on Newry St. and last for approx. 30 minutes and include intermediate hotspot primes, also on Newry St. The main Championship race will be formally started by local Chair of Leisure & Community Services, Councillor Glenn Barr at 7:45, lasting approximately 1 hour with intermediate hotspot sprint laps every 15 minutes.
To facilitate the evening’s activities and provide a safe event a number of roads will be closed between the hours of 17:45 & 21:30, including;
· Newry Street (Dir. Newry side only)
· Rathfriland Rd (B10), from Newry Street to first roundabout with Kenlis Street / Tesco’s access.
· Park View / Kenlis Court
· Kenlis Street
· Old Kenlis St
It promises to be a great night’s entertainment and an opportunity to witness some of our local sporting talent compete against the best in Ireland, so come along and give them a cheer.