If the start list of the 2016 National Criterium Championships is anything to go by we are in for a treat on Friday 12th when the start flag drops in Banbridge town’s Newry St. Promoters Banbridge CC have secured an exciting 1km fully closed circuit in the heart of the town which will lend itself to a spectacular event for both riders and spectators.
Returning to defend his national title is ASEA Wheelworx’s Mark Dowling, and with him he brings a strong team including local man Roger Aiken, a previous winner on this course, along with 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. Philip Lavery’s aggressive riding should never be discounted, nor should the speed of Marc Potts of Neon Velo , Darnell Moore of Caldwell Cycles, Glenn Kinning of Kinning Cycles, Jason Prendergast of Cunga CC, Fintan Ryan of Dunboyne and Jude Sands of Newry Wheelers, who has shown that he is carrying form at the Bangor Crit, timing a last minute attack to perfection and getting the better of National Champ Dowling.
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 lasting for approx. 30 minutes and include intermediate hotspot primes. 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 prime laps every 15 minutes.
2016 Irish National Criterium Championships, Banbridge - START LIST;