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Irish Championships - CN
Dungarvan, Carrick on Suir & Waterford, Ireland, June 29-July 1, 2007
By Shane Stokes
Four weeks after finishing his first Grand Tour, Nicolas Roche will this weekend attempt to take his first senior championship title. He will square up against defending road race champ David McCann (Colavita Sutter Home) and other strong Irish riders on Sunday and, before then, will try to take David O'Loughlin's TT title in Friday's time trial.
The chrono event is run by the Dungarvan Credit Union Cycling Club and begins at 7 pm that evening. That doesn't give a lot of time to recover before Sunday's race but that won't stop riders such as Roche, McCann, O'Loughlin, Ryan Connor (Giant Asia) and others from giving their all for honours.
The same competitors will be in the thick of the fight for the win in Sunday's road race, and there are others who should also be in the shakeup. O'Loughlin's Navigators Insurance teammate Ciarán Power will be particularly motivated as the race is being promoted by his domestic Comeragh CC club and staged in his hometown of Waterford.
Last year's under 23 champion Paídi O'Brien was in fine form when taking second overall in the recent FBD Insurance Rás and, backed by a strong Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group/M. Donnelly Sean Kelly squad, should go very close. Others on that team will also be aiming for a big result, as will rivals MyHome.ie/BDBC.
One to watch is young amateur Daniel Martin. A cousin of Roche, he has been in excellent shape of late and will spend the latter part of the season riding as a stagiare with Team Slipstream. He'd prefer a hillier course, but the three small climbs on each 21.1 kilometre lap will help his ambitions.
The Elite men and under 23 riders will cover this course eight times, while the junior men will do five circuits. Also fighting it out for national titles are the Elite women and veterans, with these to line out on Saturday. The first of these races will be a very interesting battle as it will see Louise Moriarty (Global Racing Team/Winning Solutions), Jenny Fay, Julie O'Hagan (both Rapha Condor) and defending champion Siobhan Dervan (Lotto Bodisol) go head to head. All have been racing abroad this year with their teams and should be in top form. Heather Wilson (Maryland Wheelers) and Orla Hendron (Orwell Dundrum Town Center) took the top places in round five of the national women's league on Sunday and are likely to be amongst the strongest of the domestic-based competitors.