2 May 2006

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With most of North Down's road men enjoying a short period of recovery
after the Tour of the North, club training in Majorca, time trialling
and the Tour of the Glens cyclosportive  have been the focus of riders'
attentions over the past ten days.
   The club's first 10 mile time trial of the season gave the club's
newest riders the opportunity to make their mark in the  hotly contested
Espoirs' competition, a contest for newcomers to competitive cycling.  
Leader in the competition, Noel Boyce, was up against his closest rival
Philip Downie but it was Downie who paced himself better to clock
27.59,  beating the gold standard time by one second. Fastest on the
night was top veteran tester Declan McMackin who recorded 23.55

full results were;
1.D McMackin 23.55
2. L Curran 25.33
3. P Downie 27.59 ( Espoir gold standard )
4. G Swenarton 28.06
5. E Blayney  28.51 ( Espoir silver standard )
6 M Geddis 29.03 ( Espoir silver standard )
7. N Boyce 29.11 ( Espoir silver standard )
8. M Hodgins 29.40 ( Espoir silver standard )
9. T Johnston 29.59 ( Espoir bronze standard )
10. G Boyle 30.24
With two events completed the Espoirs' competition is led by Philip
Downie, followed by Noel Boyce, Myles Geddis and Tim Johnston. This
week's event is the first of a series of one kilometre time trials held
on the Orlock to Groomsport stretch of the A2. With Declan McMackin
still enjoying the sunshine in Majorca, the reigning club record holder
for the event, Paul Swenarton, is likely to face his biggest threat from
Paul Ferguson, who lost out in last year's head to head finale in this
competition. With some hard racing in his legs and a week of big mileage
in Majorca, Ferguson could spring a surprise but Swenarton has hit a
patch of good form recently, clocking a 22.21 in last week's 10 mile
time trial in the Dave Kane series at Woodgreen. Also showing good form
is Tommy Simmons, who had an excellent first run in the Tour of the
North over Easter. He has a slight disadvantage, however, in that he has
never ridden the kilometre before and it is one of those events where
pace judgment is crucial. Go flat out over the first half and you will
pay the price over the last 200 metres.
  The Espoirs are going into this one with a degree of trepidation with
only one of them, Tim Johnston , having done it last year. His average
time over the two runs was 1.32,  fast enough , if he can repeat it, to
give him the gold standard. A lot will depend on the weather and the
riders will be hoping for relatively calm conditions to help them reach
their target times. The first rider will be off at 7pm.
The weather was also on the mind of the large group of North Down riders
who headed up to Belfast last Sunday morning for the first of this
year's big cyclosportive challenge rides, the 130 mile Tour of the
Glens. The distance and 3000 feet of climbing was bad enough but many of
the riders had just returned from short sleeve weather in Majorca and
were finding it  difficult to adjust to the chilly air and grey skies of
a typical Ulster spring. The usual suspects from the touring section
were there, apart from Terry Nicoletti who was suffering from sore ribs
as a result of a fall in suspicious circumstances in Majorca. It was
good to see Alastair Irvine back in long distance action for the first
time since suffering a bad shoulder injury at last year's Tour of the
North. Two former Northern Ireland road race champions, Michael Hamilton
and Ray Brownfield, both short of racing this year, saw the Glens as a
chance to get in some quality distance work and both men will be pleased
with the strong riding they managed to put in.
Last year North Down CC introduced a series of weekly leisure rides for
recreational and casual cyclists. It was very successful and the 2006
series begins this evening, Thursday  4th May. The rides are open to
anyone who would like to have a go at the 22 mile circuit which is
mostly on minor roads and run at a pace to suit the novice rider. The
riders meet at the Groomsport Road roundabout and the ride gets under
way at 7pm. All riders are advised to wear a helmet and carry a pump and
spare tube.
Road events this weekend take place on Sunday with time triallists
opting for the NICF  TT League at Ballyclare, while the road racing
specialists head for Hilltown for the Tour of the Mournes, a restricted
category race that rolls out at noon.

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