On a day that promised rain the sun shone again in the Valley of Honey Clonmel on the 9th edition of the Suir Valley 3 Day. The race started with an extended neutralised section due to a mechanical by 2007 winner Sean Lacey but this mechanical was quickly rectified by Neutral Service and the race started with an average speed of 60kmph heading to Carrick on Suir for the first hot spot of the day which was taken by Eoin Morton of UCD closely followed by Dave McGowan of Champion Stems VCUK and the Dungarvan Local Mark Power.
After the Hotspot a group of 9 riders made their way clear and at 26kms they had a lead of 36secs. The group contained Mark Power, Stephen Murray, Chris Reilly, Robin Kelly, Sean Lacey, Daire Feeley, Robin Gary and eventual winner Colm Cassidy who was the 2014 Paul Helion trophy winner.
Onto Portlaw and the First KOM and it was Chris Reilly of Team Asea who took the Palmares on Church hill and the lead had extended at this time to over one minute and a stream of Team Cars were sent forward to support the 9 riders, again heading for Kilmeaden the speed exceeded 70kms in part supported by a strong south westerly but it was at this stage heading for the 2nd hotspot of the day that the main bunch let the 9 leaders extend their to 1min and 58seconds. Hot Spot 2 was taken by renounced sprinter Robin Kelly , followed Robin Garry of Team Isle of Man and Sean Lacey.
Leaving Piltown for Templeourm 9 became 8 as James Davenport lost contact as the pressure increased on the climb. The group who were working well together now began to splinter on the KOM when the obligatory sprint for KOM points in this case it was Cassidy who took the honours and points from Reilly, Murray, Lacey, Feeley and Garry the break was now down to 5. The Templeourm climb also change the dynamic of the race as the strong riders of the peloton now started to show their form and a large group of 14 formed but it was the 5 riders (Cassidy, Lacey, Murray, Feeley & Garry) who had most to gain and they road on harder than ever.
Following on from the Kilmaganney Climb which was again taken by Cassidy the group of 14 which had formed (Bayliss, McGowan, Carpenter, Laverick, Morton, Power, McAuley,Reilly Shaw Kelly, Hennebry, Dudley, Christie, Craig Mcauley ) had the gap down to 1min 45secs at 104kms and at Glenbower it was clear that Rider 59 Damien Shaw was in good form doing a lot of the pulling in the group.
Onto Kilsheelan and the group of 14 could see the 5 escapees up the road and the time gaps at 10km was down to 45secs the 14 had taken over a minute back in 10kms, 5kms to go there seemed to be a look of lot of looking around, missing of turns but it was clear to see that Shaw of ASEA, JLT’s Laverick & Carpenter and Champion systems McGowan and Baylis were there to race and loose as little time to the leaders as possible as they did the majority of the pulling at the front as the tempo increased.
With 2kms to go it seemed that the escapees would be caught but the 14 chasers lost focus and it was now the escapees who had the upper hand and the attacks started in the group of 5 but it was Cassidy who was the strongest and won the stage from Sean Lacey.
Behind in the group of 14 the marked man was the one and only Robin Kelly and with 13 on his wheel he was not afraid to take up the sprint weaving from side to side at the start to see who would go first, Number 9 Dave McGowan of Champion Systems/ VCUK obliged and a fine display of sprinting was displayed for all to see but Kelly was seen off by UCD’s Eoin Morton in the end.
Eoin O’Connell of Blarney CC was on discussion was awarded the most aggressive rider the day by the college of commissaires and press for the most determined and courageous ride of the day. Eoin crashed at one of the fastest points of the day and rode solo back into the peloton when speed were in excess of 60kms, battered bleeding and bruised Eoin returned to the peloton on the KOM of Portlaw which we believe is in the spirit of the competition.
Full Results for Al competitions can be found below