Tour of Ulster stage two called off as cyclists battle snow, rain and high winds
By Eleanor McGillie
STAGE Two of the AmberGreen Energy Tour of Ulster had to be called off three miles outside of Kilkeel today (SAT) as high winds, snow and sleet battered the riders as they tried to battle the elements.
Garry Nugent, of BGN Management, made the decision to end the stage near Kilkeel as the conditions worsened and rider safety was paramount.
Mr Nugent said in spite of the race getting off to a great start as it left Malone Playing Fields in Belfast but weather conditions worsened so it was considered too much of a risk to the cyclists had they continued.
He said: “It’s always tough to call off a stage especially as the momentum for this one has been huge. No-one can predict the weather but it is key in our decision making and no race is worth a riders’ safety.
“I spoke with sponsors and team leaders and the decision was unanimous to call Stage Two off and resume again tomorrow – weather dependent.
“There were a few crashes this morning – one of which included the leader Damien Shaw who was in pole position after last night’s time trial at Stormont. But the last thing anyone wants is for someone to get injured. The riders were all given the option either to cycle at safe speeds into Newry or take lifts in cars provided by our vehicle partner, Saltmarine.”
The riders were due to race through Rostrevor, Hilltown, Rathfriland, Mayobridge, Warrenpoint and onto the finishing line at the Greenbank Industrial Estate in Newry.
Neil O’Brien, chairman of AmberGreen Energy, the event partner, said: “It is a shame these cyclists didn’t get the chance to complete the stage but everyone sings from the same sheet and that is safety comes first.
“It was freezing this morning and a lot of cyclists were certainly feeling it so the right decision was made. Weather dependent we will be back on track in the morning and the riders will have had a chance to rest up.
“Hopefully the weather will be good tomorrow and, if so, we will leave Newry Town Hall and cycle through Camlough, Newtownhamilton, Keady, Markethill, Hamiltonsbawn, Richill, Armagh, Caledon, Aughnacloy, Ballygawley (Whitebridge Road), Pomeroy, Donaghmore and Cookstown.”
Large crowds are expected for the podium presentations 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.
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
STAGE 2 – May 2, 2015 – Race called off at Kilkeel
Race leader Damien Shaw was involved in a crash just after 10 miles of racing had being covered, but Provisional results of the 1st sprint quickly regained the main field.
Provisional results of the 1st sprint
|Sprint 1 @ 13.0 miles (Provisional)|
|1||Andrew Gregg (North Down CC)||10|
|2||Martyn Irvine (Irish Development Team)||8|
|3||Greg Swinand (Team Aqua Blue)||6|
Provisional results of the 2nd sprint
|Sprint 2 @ 19.1 miles (Provisional)|
|1||Patrick Clarke (Clare Alarms)||10|
|2||Sean Lacey (Team Aqua Blue)||8|
|3||Ali McAuley (Team Asea)||6|
|4||Taylor Johnstone (CTC Tomac)||4|
|5||Mark Downey (Irish Development Team)||2|
27mph was covered in the first hour
Provisional results of the 1st KOH
|KOH 1 – Cat 2 @ 29.0 miles (Provisional)|
|1||Christopher McGlinchey (Irish Development Team)||15|
|2||Bryan McCrystal (Team Asea)||11|
|3||Mark Dowling (DID Dunboyne)||8|
|4||Ronan McLaughlin (Carn Wheelers)||6|
After the 1st KOH the main field had split into 5 groups, with Bryan McCrystal moving clear on his own. By the 2nd KOH McCrystal was still clear.
|KOH 2 – Cat 2 @ 32.9 miles (Provisional)|
|1||Bryan McCrystal (Team Asea)||15|
|2||Mark Dowling (DID Dunboyne)||11|
|3||Sean Hahessey (Irish Development Team)||8|
|4||Anthony Murray (Subaru Team Albion)||6|
After the 2nd KOH the leading 2 groups took the wrong course and the race had to be stopped. After restarting the weather conditions became extremely severe and the race was abandoned for rider safety.
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 UK | Brand Journalism Experts | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Sport PR Northern Ireland