Shaw wins stage one as Tour of Ulster cyclists prepare for gruelling road race
By Eleanor McGillie
IT was a gruelling climb and Damien Shaw rose to the challenge taking first place on the podium last night at stage one of the AmberGreen Energy Tour of Ulster in partnership with SDS Energy Group and Saltmarine Cars in Belfast.
Crowds gathered at the gates of Stormont to watch 140 cyclists set off in pairs for the Time Trial Stage 1, sponsored by Homecare Independent Living.
The cyclists raced their way past Carson’s Monument before climbing the hill up to the steps at Stormont.
But it was from Damien Shaw, from Team ASEA, who took pole position securing the time trial in 1m46.19secs, who got to win the much coveted pink jersey which was presented by the stage sponsor.
In second position was Ronan McLaughlin from Carn Wheelers , who took second position securing the time trial in 1m47.09secs.
In third position was Felix English from Team Cheshire JLT Condor, securing the time trial in 1m47.93secs.
Speaking at the podium last night, organiser Garry Nugent, of BGN Management said: “It’s a very hard climb but somebody had to win it but each and every rider put their hearts and souls into this first stage.
“The weather stayed kind and the atmosphere has been amazing. Cycling in Northern Ireland has a huge following and we are delighted to have so many elite riders here from Australia, Holland, Belgium, France, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to share our passion. They have a hard race ahead of them and we wish them a safe 265 mile journey.”
Congratulating the winner, Dympna Palmer of Homecare Independent Living, said: “It’s an honour to sponsor Stage One and be in Belfast to support Ireland’s longest established road race. We will be in Cookstown on Sunday also where we will see an arduous journey near an end for these cyclists.”
But with Stage One over and done with, the riders will today (SAT) face their first road race which takes them from Malone Playing Fields in Belfast to Newry. Stage 2, sponsored by JR Lighting, will take the riders through Carryduff, Saintfield, Crossgar, Downpatrick, Clough, Newcastle (Bryansford Road, Spelga Dam), Kilkeel, Rostrevor, Hilltown, Rathfriland, Mayobridge, Warrenpoint and into the finishing line at the Greenbank Industrial Estate in Newry.
Neil O’Brien, chairman of AmberGreen Energy, the event partner, said: “These cyclists are in for a treat. The weather will hopefully be kind to them as they race along the beautiful east coast of Northern Ireland. Friday’s Time Trial was a challenge in its own right but Stage 2 will give the riders a totally different experience. We wish everyone a safe onward journey and thank all of our cycling enthusiast volunteers who have given up their time for free to help this race to run as safely and efficiently as possible.”
The teams are expected to arrive in Newry at JR Lighting in the Greenbank Industrial Estate at 1.15pm today (SAT) where they will be welcomed by the Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council, Councillor Naomi Bailie.
They will leave Newry Town Hall tomorrow morning (SUN) for Stage 3, sponsored by Homecare Independent Living, and cycle through Camlough, Newtownhamilton, Keady, Markethill, Hamiltonsbawn, Richhill, Armagh, Caledon, Aughnacloy, Ballygawley (Whitebridge Road), Pomeroy, Donaghmore and Cookstown.
Podium presentations will take place on Sunday before Stage 4, a circuit race, sponsored by Saltmarine Cars, will take place around Cookstown. Cyclists will be racing through William Street, Orritor Road, Tulnacross Road, Flo Road, Omagh Road, Tullagh Road, Fairhill Road, James Street, William Street and back into Cookstown main street for a family fun day and podium presentations..
Live action from the race will be published on Twitter @AGE TourofUlster and on Facebook during the course of the four stages.
RESULTS: STAGE 1 – May 1, 2015 – #AGETourOfUlster provisional top 10
1 / 01’46.19″ – Damien Shaw – Team Asea 2 / 01’47.09″ – Ronan McLaughlin – Carn Wheelers 3 / 01’47.93″ – Felix English – Cheshire JLT Condor 4 / 01’48.19″ – Tord Andre Sundhagen – AAA Cycling Team 5 / 01’48.73″ – Mark Downey – Irish Development Team 6 / 01’52.16″ – Peter Hawkins – CTC Tomac 7 / 01’52.34″ – Dave Watson – North Down CC 8 / 01’52.43″ – Eoin Morton – UCD 9 / 01’53.35″ – Marc Potts – CTC Tomac 10 / 01’53.40″ – Chris Reilly – So Cycles
Notes To Editor:
The Tour of Ulster Route:
Stage 1 – Belfast Prologue – Stormont Estate 2 up race.
Stage 2 – Belfast (Malone Playing Fields, House of Sport) – Carryduff – Saintfield – Crossgar – Downpatrick – Clough – Newcastle (Bryansford Road, Spelga Dam) – Kilkeel – Rostrevor – Hilltown – Rathfriland – Mayobridge – Warrenpoint – Newry.
Stage 3 – Newry – Camlough – Newtownhamilton – Keady – Markethill – Hamiltonsbawn – Richill – Armagh – Caledon – Aughnacloy – Ballygawley (Whitebridge Road) – Pomeroy – Donaghmore – Cookstown.
Stage 4 -Cookstown – William Street – Orritor Road – Tulnacross Road – Flo Road – Omagh Road – Tullagh Road – Fairhill Road – James Street – William Street – Cookstown.
- The ‘AmberGreen Tour of Ulster’ will take place on the Bank Holiday Weekend in May, from Friday, May 1 until Monday, May 4 2015. The Tour of Ulster is one of Ireland’s longest running races and has been in existence since 1957. The race is embedded in the local racing calendar and is a highlight of the racing year.
- For further media information or interview requests please contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379 | www.mgmpr.co.uk | Brand Journalism Experts | Brand Journalism UK | PR Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Sport PR