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Stephen Roche GP - NE
Ireland, June 28, 2006
Fox wins Stephen Roche GP by Shane Stokes
Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group rider Morgan Fox took a fine win in the Stephen
Roche Grand Prix in Meadowmount, Dundrum, outsprinting Brian Taaffe (All Systems
Dublin Wheelers) at the end of the thirty lap street race.
Fox and Taaffe went clear of the peloton in the first fifteen minutes of racing and soon caught the group comprising senior 3, juniors, women and veteran riders who had been given an approximate three-quarter lap head start under the handicapping system. They continued on and successfully held off all attempts from behind to chase them down.
After Scott McDonald (MyHome.ie/Cycleways) and Paul Healion (Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group) were unable to make the junction with the two leaders, Stephen O'Sullivan (MyHome.ie/Cycleways) set off in pursuit, closely marked by Fox's team-mate Phil Finegan. O'Sullivan closed up to with five seconds with five laps to go but this gap soon increased once more. He and Finegan held off the bunch for third and fourth, while Colm Bracken (Murphy Surveyors Kilcullen) and Paul Healion (Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group) led home the peloton to take fifth and sixth. Louise Moriarty (Moving Ladies) was first woman.
Urban Monks and Terry Ferris continued what was a successful night for the
local Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group team, taking first in the senior 2 and veteran's
classifications. Sean Reynolds (Stagg's Cycles) and Michael Daly (McNally Swords)
were first senior 3 and junior, respectively.
Fox competed several years ago as a professional with the Tonissteiner team but glandular fever ruined his chance of making it big as a European pro. Although he is still hampered at times by the virus, he has made a comeback and shown some good form recently, taking second in the Paddy Flanagan Memorial last week and then winning tonight.
He was very pleased with the result. "I was sixth here last year so it is very nice to get the win this time," he said to the crowd at the finish. "This was a very important race for Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group [the M&G base is in nearby Milltown], so we planned to be aggressive from the start. Paul Healion went early on, I went across to him and then went again. I didn't think the race would feel so long towards the end I was really feeling it."
"Brian [Taafe] was going well, he was riding through. He is a good guy
to have in a break, he is an honest rider. I was pretty confident I'd get it
in a sprint but I guess you can never be certain."
Taafe was happy with his result. "Right for lap two Murphy and Gunn were jumping around a lot. I was lucky enough to get away with Morgan. He did the lion's share of the work out there, leading into the wind coming up the finishing straight."
Third-placed Stephen O'Sullivan said that the numerical strength of the Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group riders was a factor in their win. "It was very tough - Murphy and Gunn have such a strong squad, so there was nothing we could do. Every time you moved, they would have a rider on your wheel."
Colm Bracken was happy enough to win the bunch sprint for fifth. "I am still coming back after two big crashes this year. I hit my hip both times and it messed up my form, but I am feeling a bit better now."
Paul Healion took sixth and said it was a good ride for the squad. "Murphy
and Gunn had three guys in the top six, so we couldn't ask for anything more.
At one point I was chasing with Scott [McDonald], we didn't get across to Morgan
and Brian, but it worked out well anyway, in that the team got the win."
"It was like a Belgian kermesse out there," said Louise Moriarty, who was first home of the women. She seemed to have enjoyed the race, as did Orla Hendron of the promoting Orwell Wheelers/Dundrum Town Centre club. "It was good, although it was a bit scary when the A's caught up they came around us very quickly! Fox andtaaffe were up to us first, then the rest followed a couple of laps later."
1 Paul Healion (Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group) 2 Brian Taaffe (All Systems Dublin Wheelers) 3 Stephen O’Sullivan (MyHome.ie/Cycleways) 4 Phil Finegan (Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group) 5 Colm Bracken (Murphy Surveyors Kilcullen) 6 Paul Healion (Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group) Senior 2 1 Urban Monks (Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group) 2 Noel McGlynn (Ravens) Senior 3 1 Sean Reynolds (Staggs Lucan) 2 Martin Fitzgerald (Stamullen M. Donnelly) Woman Louise Moriarty (MovingLadies) Junior Michael Daly (McNally Swords) Veteran Terry Ferris (Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group) Primes Lap 2 Ferris Lap 4 John Lynch (Bray Wheelers) Lap 6 Eddie Lynch (Orwell/Dundrum Town Centre) Lap 8 Lynch Lap 10 Ferris Lap 12 Taafe Lap 16 Fox Lap 19 Scott McDonald (MyHome.ie/Cycleways) Lap 23 Fox Lap 25 Monks