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Bumper field predicted for Westportif Cycle Challenge


Bumper field predicted for Westportif Cycle Challenge

Martin Ayres

WESTPORT’S biggest cycling event of the year takes place next Saturday, July 19 when the Westportif Challenge takes to the roads. Eight days before the closing date, the entry had already exceeded last year’s figures, and the organisers are predicting over 800 registrations for Saturday’s event. To take part, enter online at www.fitmagazine.ie by 10pm on Thursday, July 17. The event is attracting interest from all over the country, with many participants making a weekend of it in Westport. There is a choice of three cycle routes – 160km (Westport, Louisburgh, Delphi, Leenane, Maam, Tourmakeady, Westport); 80km (Westport, Louisburgh, Delphi, Westport) and 40km (Westport, Louisburgh, Westport). Westportif is one of six major sportives that make up the Skoda Cycle Series. All the Skoda events are chip timed, including the 160 km and 80 km Westportif routes. The 40 km cycle is a more leisurely affair and will not be chip timed. The series is being promoted by Independent News and Media Regionals with The Mayo News as a local media partner. Participants must be over 18 years old, have a properly serviced bike and wear a helmet on the day. The course will be marshalled and equipped repair units patrolling the route. Refreshments (drinks, bananas, bars) will be provided.

REGISTRATION for Westportif: Friday, July 18 at Monaghan’s Skoda Dealers, Breaffy Road, Castlebar, 7pm to 9pm. Saturday. July 19 at Leisure Park, Westport, register for 160km and 80km sportifs from 7am to 8.30am. Register for 40km from 8.30am to 9.45am. For more information see www.westportif.ie Westportif’s charity partners are Console, who offer counselling and support to families who have lost someone to suicide and counselling to someone contemplating taking their own life. To raise money for Console, see www.westportif.ie/westportif-and-console/

ON Saturday evening Westportif cyclists can relax and watch the town centre criterium involving many of the region’s top road racers. The 800-metre circuit of Bridge Street-Shop Street-James Street-The Mall and back into Bridge Street is reckoned to be the toughest in the five-race Connacht Criterium League. The Bridge Street gradient will feel like a mountain to competitors as the race progresses. The action starts with youth races at 8pm. Westport Covey’s youth section has collected a string of podium places around the country this season, and will be aiming to shine on their home turf. The youth events will be followed at 9pm by the senior race, which last for 45 minutes plus three laps. In addition to the night’s prize list, riders will be competing for points in the Criterium League. With three rounds completed, the Elite 1 standings are: 1, Paddy Clarke (Liquidworx), 47 pts; 2, David Brennan (Castlebar CC), 41 pts; 3, Chris Troy (Castlebar CC), 34 pts; Elite 2: 1, Valerio Di Bacco (Galway Bay), 54 pts; 2, Aiden Reade (Black Rose), 33 pts; 3, Stephen Murphy (Cunga CC), 28 pts.

THE 2014 Mayo Cycling League finished with David Brennan in top spot after eight rounds of closely contested racing. This year the league attracted record fields with over 130 riders taking part in one or more rounds. “There was a notable increase in the standard of racing,” said league official Pádraig Marrey. ”Long gone are the massive handicaps with the same riders scooping all the points.” Brennan (Castlebar CC) was injured at the start of the season but finished strongly, scoring consistently throughout the series. Aichlinn O’Reilly (Westport Covey) was a close second overall despite missing a round while on international triathlon duty. Third overall was Seán O’Malley (Western Lakes), the only rider to score two wins. The women’s title was a battle between Castlebar CC and the Coveys, with Castlebar’s Elaine Rowley finishing in first place. Ben Walsh (Westport Covey) was the leading U-16 rider, eighth overall after scoring points in six of the eight rounds. Final overall: 1, David Brennan, Castlebar CC, 159; 2, Aichlinn O’Reilly, Westport Covey, 150; 3, Seán O’ Malley, Western Lakes, 147; 4, Cathal Usher, Western Lakes, 128; 5. Chris Troy, Castlebar CC, 127; 6, Richard Meaney, Westport Covey. 115; 7, Pádraig Marrey, Western Lakes CC, 112; 8, Ben Walsh, Westport Covey 111; 9, Keith O Connell, Westport Covey, 110; 10, Donal Mulkeen, Ballina CC, 91; Team: Westport Covey Wheelers; Ladies: 1, Elaine Rowley Castlebar CC, 52; 2. Noreen O’Toole, Westport Covey, 46; 3, Ann-Marie Egan, Westport Covey, 36.

YOUNG mountain bikers in Cong are enjoying sessions at Cunga Cycling Club’s ‘MTB Dirt School’. Youngsters from six to 14 years are taught mountain biking skills in a fun and safe environment. Around 30 MTB riders of all abilities are attending the Friday evening sessions, run by Cunga CC members Gary and Sinéad Collins. Coaching sessions are held at the Ashford Equestrian Centre and bikers get practical experience on the estate’s forest tracks. The current ‘term’ started on June 27 for five weeks. The cost is €3 per child per session. For more information call 086 225 1511.

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