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Banbridge Criterium 2018, Friday 6th July: Event Details

Banbridge CC are pleased to once again promote the Banbridge Criterium for 2018 on Friday 6th July. Following the success of the event in previous years, including 2016 when it hosted the Irish National Championships, the club have confirmed that the event will use the same popular 1km circuit, starting and finishing on Banbridge town’s main high street – Newry St – to bring the fast paced action of crit racing to the town centre where it belongs.

Also confirmed are the inclusion of two support youth races catering for the Under 16 and Under 14 categories. The youth races will be supported by the David McCall FoundationManeely Mc Cann  Accountants and Rodgers Stoves Rathfriland who are kindly providing prizes for these events.

The main feature senior race will cater for A1, A2 & A3 categories.

Pre entry to the event will open on Wednesday 27th June via the Cycling Ireland website. The senior race will be limited to 60 riders with pre-entry closing on Wednesday 4th July, or once all places have been bought. Entries to the youth races will be accepted on the night. Entry to the senior race will be £15 with youth entries priced at £5.

Always a very popular event, early entry is advised for all senior riders. A budget has been reserved to accommodate prizes for the first 6 riders overall with hot spot prime laps and unplaced rider prizes also available for A2’s & Juniors.

While at first glance the circuit may look flat and relatively straight forward, a sharp descent, fast and tight corners, and a drag onto the start/finishing straight that will sap the legs has proven to provide both competitors and spectators some exciting racing over the years.

Racing for the youth will kick off at 18:45 with the under 14’s facing a 20 minute race, and the under 16’s will follow at 19:15 and will race for approx. 30 minutes.  The main senior feature race will start at 20:00, with the race being started officially by Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Julie Flaherty.  The feature race will last for approx. 50 minutes, featuring 2 x prime laps.

Sign on for all races will open at 17:45 in the Downshire Arms Hotel, closing 15 mins sharp before each race.

2018 Banbridge CC Tour de France Sweep: Tickets now available!

Banbridge CC are once again holding a Tour de France sweep stake for 2018.  The sweep has always proved very popular with tickets selling out very quickly so a quick purchase is advised to avoid missing out on a winning rider!

Tickets are now available from a number of club officials - further details of which can be advised by Neil Teggart.

One ticket will be sold representing each of the rider numbers as entered in the race.

Tickets will be priced at £10 each.

Prize list;

1st Overall   £150

2nd Overall  £100

3rd Overall   £50

Points winner £50

Mountains winner £50

Stage winner  £20 (x20)*

Random prize £10 (x20), 105th place on each stage*

*please note no prizes will be awarded on stage 3, the Team Time Trial.

Overall prize fund £1000

All prizes will be paid upon the completion of the race.

2018 Noel Teggart Memorial: Event Info & Pre-registration details

Banbridge CC once again host the Noel Teggart Memorial road races for 2018, taking place on Sunday 17th June.   Always a busy day for the promoting club, there will be a total of 6 races promoted including 3 races for the youth categories and 3 senior races.  Racing will take place on the traditional circuit, starting in Banbridge and making its way out to the village of Gilford and through Scarva before the long drag back to Banbridge for a finish on the Scarva Rd .

Earning a reputation in recent years as one of the highest paying events in the country this trend is set to continue with the promoters setting aside a generous prize pot of £1,800, which includes a winner’s cash prize of £300 for the A1/A2 race.

2017 Winner, Marc Heaney  of Asfra Racing.  Photo courtesy of the Belgian Project

Last year’s winner of this race, Marc Heaney riding for Belgian outfit Asfra Racing, has gone on to become one of the most promising under 23 riders in the country and recently secured his first UCI categorised victory overseas in Albania.  Other recent winners include multiple Irish National Champion Mark Dowling and 2018 Rás Tailteann stage winner Sean McKenna who both added their name to the winner’s trophy alongside numerous famous Irish cycling names; Tommy Evans, David McCann & Phillip Cassidy among them.

Contenders for this year’s event are likely to include local riders Lindsay Watson of Powerhouse Sport and John Buller of Banbridge CC who have both shown fantastic form against high quality international competition in recent weeks, and will want to impress on home roads.  Darnell Moore and the Caldwell Cycles Team have also impressed most weekends and if the Viner Caremark Pactimo team send their usual contingent led by the in-form Matteo Cigala & Ronan McLaughlin they will likely be at the top of the bookies favourites list.

Of the 6 races being promoted on the day, the A1/A2 race will be the first to roll out from the Banbridge Academy School at midday to face 7 laps of the circuit to give them a total race distance of 130km. Prizes will be on offer for the first 8 riders across the line and the first 3  A2 category riders.

A dedicated A3 race always provides fierce competition with local man Simon Curry delighted to be get the upper hand on the Powerhouse Sport  junior riders in a hard fought bunch sprint at last year’s event. This year they will once again cover 6 laps of the circuit, giving them a race distance of 110km.  Prizes will be awarded to the top 6 riders in this race.

The A4 race will face 5 laps to give a total race distance of 92km, and will also accommodate A3 & A4 women, many of who have been showing their male counterparts that they are more than up to providing healthy competition, and with the National Championships only weeks away will be keen to cause the A4 men an upset.  Prizes will be awarded to the top 6 riders and the highest placed women.

A full suite of youth races will also be on offer, accommodating our under 16, 14 & 12 riders.  The under 16 event will complete 3 laps for a total race distance of 55km. The under 14’s will complete 1 lap covering 17km, while the under 12’s will be neutralised to their official race start at the Banville House Hotel roundabout where they will race to Scarva village, a total race distance of 9.5km.  Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 boys and top 3 girls in each youth race.

In a slight change from previous years the Event HQ will be based at Banbridge Rugby Club, just off the Newry Rd.  Full changing and shower facilities will be available.

Event pre-registration will be available for all races via Cycling Ireland from 7pm on Monday 4th June until 11pm on Thursday 14th June at a cost of £15 for senior riders, £10 for juniors & £5 for youth riders.  Riders are still required to sign-on on the day at the event HQ where they should have their race licences available for presentation – this facility will be open from 10am until 11:30am before all races roll out together at 11:45am.

You can access the event pre-registration on the Cycling Ireland Azolve system here:  https://cyclingireland.azolve.com/workbench/public/events?ref=16FB64C24CB6E9A58EB6AC396F161DEA100AE758

The roll out will be neutralised, through Banbridge town, to the race start area at the Banbridge Academy School where riders will be held and released in their respective races for the official race starts commencing at 12 noon.

The Victus Tour of Ulster

Glorious sunshine shone all over the May Bank Holiday weekend for the prestigious Victus Tour of Ulster which saw teams making up the 130 riders come from all over to compete in this 3-day race based in Banbridge.  Simon Curry took charge of the Banbridge Team which consisted of Roger Aiken, Gareth McKee, John Buller, Kevin McKinney and Marcus Christie.  This year we were delighted to have our new team car, supplied by JP O'Hagan and Federal Tyres.  Also supporting the team once again was Cycleology who provided the lads with sports nutrition and energy products for the weekend.

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The first stage made its way with a relatively flat course, anticlockwise around Lough Neagh with the final KOH in Rathfriland Hill, covering a total of 112 miles on the 1stday. Stage 1 was won by Holdsworth Pro Cycling Team rider Conn McDunphy who was home and guesting for the Lucan Dublin Cycling Team. Local riders had a good day with Lindsay Watson from Powerhouse finishing the day in 4thplace, Banbridge CC’s John Buller, who’d just joined the senior ranks this year, put in a terrific performance finishing the stage in 9thplace with the ever-consistent Gareth McKee in 30th position.

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Stage 2 was a tough day covering climbs at Spa, Slieve Croob, Rathfriland Spelga and probably the most difficult climb of the race at Windy Gap.  Crowds of local supporters were present in the glorious sunshine to witness the sterling efforts of the competitors as they made the strenuous climbs. After covering 100 miles the race headed back to Banbridge. There was an exciting photo-finish on Newry Road, where the winner was declared; ex-professional Ronan McLaughlin from Team Viner Caremark Pactimo, by the very finest of margins.  A brilliant effort from the Banbridge Team with guest rider Marcus Christie, who has just returned from the Australian Gold coast where he achieved a top 10 at the Commonwealth Games, finishing in 20thplace. John Buller finished in another fine 23rd. The King of the Mountains Competition was won by local rider Lindsay Watson, Powerhouse Sport, a very strong performance from Lindsay over the steepest of climbs in Co Down.

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Stage 3 was a 10-mile circuit covered 7 times.  The circuit itself starts along the Newry Road and takes a right onto Tullyear Avenue, left onto Old Newry Road and right onto Ringsend Road and moving onto Ballygowan Road, Coolnacran Road and Legananny Road before entering the town of Loughbrickland. The race then takes a left onto the Grovehill Road, followed by another left onto the Ballynanny Road and them onto the Brague Road before returning onto Rathfriland for a fast finish into Banbridge. This circuit really saw the crowds come out on Bank Holiday Monday to cheer on the international line up of cyclists, lining both sides of the Newry Road. 

The Banbridge CC team had a plan laid out and, led by Roger Aiken, who was putting in spectacular turns at the front of the race whittled down the breach of the day which contained fellow Banbridge team mates Buller & McKee. It was a valiant effort that was only closed down in the final 5km of the race, which set up for bunch sprint finish up the final drag of the Newry Road.

There were loud cheers as Italian rider Matteo Cigala from Team Viner Caremark Pactimo crossed the line in 1stplace, his first tstage win in the Tour of Ulster after a string of 2ndplaces from previous visits.

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The Victus overall winner from the three days of racing, was Joe Evans from St Piran, Cornwall, with Scott Auld from French Club, VC Toucy in 2ndplace. 

local rider John Buller of Banbridge CC finishing in 9thplace overall on general classification, the 19-year-old had an amazing 3 days in his first major race from leaving the Junior category. Guest rider for Banbridge CC, Kevin McKinney, finished overall in 24th with Gareth McKee in 42nd place. Lindsay Watson from Powerhouse Sport finished in 17th place and a strong performance from young Brandon Douglas guesting for Dromara finished in 67th place unfortunately Jack Ferguson from Dromara crashed out on the 1stday and Nathan Mullan, also of Dromara CC was listed as a DNF on stage 2.

 

A terrific international event over 3 days and with 130 starters.   All of our local riders did Banbridge proud. This event would not have been possible with the volunteers, marshals from all our local clubs and the assistance of the PSNI Road Policing Unit so a huge thank you to them all.

Banbridge CC finish 3rd Team in Tour of The North

The Banbridge CC team at the 2018 Tour of the North rounded out a hard weekend’s racing with a solid performance on a gruelling day that seen the stage revised due to snow on the higher ground making the pass of Torr Head and Orra unsuitable.  The organisers decided to re-use the route from stage 3 and combined with sleet, showers and freezing temperatures it made for a day to remember.

The Banbridge jersey was a constant sight at the from ot the race all weekend

Having just missed the break the day before Gareth McKee was highest placed on GC in 17th and John Buller close behind in 18th.  Guest rider Kevin McKinney was also having a solid race and lay just outside the top 20 in 23rd. As a team they satin a solid 6th place overall.  As the day wore on many heads dropped but our lads pushed on, with Gareth coming agonisingly close to bridging to the main break of the day with Team Caldwell Cycles Darnell Moore. It wasn’t to be however and he had had to drop back to the chasing bunch.  Buller was next to go and infiltrated a chasing group which, while not making it across to the front, stayed away from the bunch to gain time on GC. McKinney and McKee also made additional moves and as the race started to splinter they were also able to gain time on a number of riders and teams.

Banbridge CC supporters were once again out in numbers to cheers ENCOURAGEMENT and show off the club COLOuRS

By the time they crossed the line, behind winner Rupert Graham of Spirit Tifosi who had himself put on an incredible ride to take the overall honours, our lads had ridden themselves up the leader board to 3rd overall and best of the Irish teams on GC. Kevin Mckinney lead them home in 18th place which was enough to move him up to the same place on GC and inside the top 20, while McKee and Buller moved up to 13th and 14th respectively.  John Buller had also moved up to 5th young rider in his first year as an under 23.  Peter Hughes should also be pleased to have finished in the front half of the field on a day that seen over 40 riders withdraw, including our own Roger Aiken who thought better of it and made home for an early shower.  A mention must go to Banbridge man Lindsay Watson, who has ridden in Banbridge CC colours on numerous occasions, and put in a fantastic weekend to finish 4th overall and winner of the King of the Hills competition, highlighting his place as one of the very best in Ireland at present.

John buller had another strong weekend and looks set to build on a very promising junior career

Despite the weather and condition the Banbridge CC lads should be very pleased with their performances, which no doubt they will build on for the coming races including the Tour of Ulster which will be based in Banbridge on the May Day holiday weekend.

Thanks must go to Team Manager Neil Teggart who was assisted by Kevin McAlinden and Mark Kendall in the team car.  Huge thanks must also go to Stevie O’Hagan and JP O’Hagan Tyres for the supply of the new team car, more details of which will be published in the near future, and of course Cycleology cycle shop in Armagh who supported the team all weekend and provided a support van.

Massive thanks must go to cycleology, O'Hagan Tyres and all the Banbridge CC Support team; Neil Teggart (Team Manager), Kevin McAlinden & Mark Kendall

All photos below by Paul Hannigan

Banbridge CC Gear up for Tour of The North 2018

The Banbridge CC Team for the 2018 Dixon’s Tour of the North:  (L-R) Peter Hughes, John Buller, Gareth McKee & Kevin McKinney (missing from photo Roger Aiken).

Banbridge CC will once again field a team for the Tour of the North stage race at Easter.  A mix of experience & youth, and with two former leader’s yellow jersey wearers within the team there will be a level of expectation that the team will be keen to once again leave their mark on the event. 

Supporting the team this year is Cycleology of Armagh.  An independent bike shop who has long supported local clubs and cyclists, we are delighted to bring them aboard the Banbridge CC team and have some of our riders piloting their bicycles.

Roger Aiken in action at the 2017 Tour of the North

Leading the team on the road is the multiple national champion, former race leader and stage race veteran Roger Aiken.  Having ridden internationally in stage races on numerous occasions against the very finest in the world, Roger brings a wealth of experience and can never be underestimated for sniffing out a winning move and pulling a top result out of his deep bag of tricks.

Gareth McKee once again joins Roger on the team and is another who enjoyed the pleasure of wearing the race leader’s jersey at the event in 2015 when he won the opening stage, having beaten Dutchman Thijs Nijvelct in a two-up sprint.  Also a multiple national champion Gareth’s specialty is off-road but has proven on multiple occasions he has what it takes to convert that talent onto the road.

Gareth McKee winning Stage 1 in 2015 to take the race lead.

First year under 23 John Buller returns to the race for his 2nd attempt at it having competed in last years addition.  A double stage winner at the International Junior Tour of Ireland and points jersey wearer at the Tour of Wales, John knows he has a turn of speed that is hard to beat if he gets a clean run to the line and will be licking his lips if the opportunity should arise over the Easter weekend.

Guesting on the team for 2018 is Kevin McKinney from Armagh. A ‘man of the Ras’ and previous Ulster Champion, normally sporting the colours of Armagh City Cyclists, Kevin has shown great form already this season and was a key mover in last weekend’s Tour of Ards where he was active in the main break of the day – a skill he has shown on multiple occasions and earned him numerous top results on local roads.  Stage racing highlights include a stage win on his way to 2nd overall at the Ras Dhun na nGall and 12th County rider overall in the 2016 An Post Ras.

Another guest rider for 2018 is fellow Armagh City Cyclists rider Peter Hughes.  Peter is another fastman who will look forward to the sprints and alongside Buller could form a useful duo in the event of a bunch gallop.  A relative newcomer to stage racing Peter will be keen to convert his victories at A4 & A3 level racing into a strong performance for the team.

Managing the team once again is Neil Teggart. As a rider Neil has competed at the Commonwealth Games in the Road Race and represented Ireland on multiple occasions in international stage races, including the Ras.  Tactically astute with a deep knowledge in local road racing and what is needed to win, Neil is the well placed to steer the ship; his input and guidance adds considerable strength to an already imposing team.

The racing will commence this Saturday, March 31st, and concludes on Monday 2nd April.  All stages will be based in Ballymena and details of the routes can be found on the events Facebook page.  Stage estimated timings can be found in the route notes here.