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Cyclingnews' Irish Review of 2002
The Irish cycling scene is covered well on Cyclingnews, thanks mainly to the efforts of journalists Tommy Campbell and Shane Stokes. Tommy Campbell, who works for the Irish Independent/Evening Herald/Sunday Independent group of newspapers, has compiled a list of best and worst moments in Irish cycling in the year 2002.
Cyclist of the Year
This indeed was not clear-cut, as there were a number of cyclists who were in the frame. In the end it came down to Ciaran Power and David O'Loughlin, both based in America, who just edged ahead of their rivals. There has to be a winner, and the Cong, Co. Mayo man, David O'Loughlin takes the award. It would have been interesting if David had been privy to the general chat before the World's in Zolder, Belgium. The consensus was that he would not survive, but he did. As early as the third lap he was in trouble due to mechanical trouble but he got back to the main field and duly finished the fastest World's ever.
Under 23 Star
Philip Deignan from Letterkenny, a 12th hour replacement on the Irish team for the Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia in August. In maturity beyond his tender years as the youngest competitor in the event, he came out top of the pile as the Under 23 winner.
Ian Chivers (manager), Dolores Usher (masseuse), John Keegan (mechanic), cyclists, Tommy Evans, Paul Griffin, Brian Aherne, Thomas Hogan and Philip Deignan. Won the team award against 21 teams in the inaugural Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia.
Ones to watch in 2003
Mark Scanlon, who on merit finally got that elusive professional contract with AG2R. Paudi O'Brien from Kanturk, who had a magnificent season winning in excess of 30 races. Nicholas Roche, who on the strength of his win in Junior Tour looks as if he has the world of cycling at his feet. Robin Seymour, who goes in search of elusive ranking points in his quest for the Olympic Games in Greece in 2004. Finally Ciaran Power, who bounced back after the Linda McCartney debacle. Certainly of the five, Scanlon must emerge as the clear favourite to do well in 2003 and beyond.
The National Downhill Championship in Bray, Co.Wicklow. Other promoters should take note of the precision and the presentation of a championship, which was held on Bray Head.
Ken Duff of "Duffs". Where else would you see such splendid cycling memorabilia under the one roof? Just one of the rare treats, bicycles, note plural! Sean Kelly's (King of the Classics) bike, Stephen Roche's (Triple champion, Giro/Tour de France and World Champion) bike, Mark Scanlon's (Junior World Champion) bike and the winning jerseys belonging to the boys. That's only the tip of the iceberg of the items that are on display. You might even get the tour by Ken himself.
Ciaran McKenna as team manager of the Irish squad that participated at the world championships in Zolder, Belgium. He certainly instilled into them a belief in their capabilities and only one of the 13 strong squad failed to finish the course. Also there was Mark Scanlon getting his just reward and turning professional with AG2R.
Twelve months ago he was the hero but now he is the villain. So the Tin Hat of the Year has to go without a doubt to David McCann, who was found positive for a drug offence in an event in Austria in June. He certainly upset a lot of people, as David was so highly thought of, on and off the bike. When he appealed the initial findings in relation to the offence, he continued to participate in races, winning events and having the audacity to retain his ill gotten gains!
The fall off in events after the FBD Milk Ras. The cancellations were alarming to say the least. Hopefully something can be done to arrest this lack of interest. Eamon Duffy as CEO moving into a new role and leaving behind a vacuum, but then again Eamon is no fool and realises that sponsors need back up.
That Irish cycling will have three listed events on the Union Cycliste Internationale Calendar this coming season.
The announcement that the Government were not going to proceed with Stadium Ireland where it was envisaged that a Velodrome would be included.
Dermot Dignam for his ability to keep FBD Insurances and the National Dairy Council on board as sponsors of the Ras. Also to keep the link that is in essence the chemistry between representative and the domestic competitors. Each year the standard keeps going up as a result of the Union Cycliste Internationale points, but the locals according to Dermot will always have a place on the starting grid.
Robin Seymour must surely deserve inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records. For the 12th year in succession he is crowned Cyclo-Cross champion.
Powerscourt Demesne in Co. Wicklow, courtesy of the Slazenger family for the Cyclo-Cross Championship. Against a backdrop of the 'Waterfall' it was picture card material.
The island of Langkawi for the Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia.
Most representative honours
Paul Griffin from the newly formed club of Earl of Desmond/Tralee Bicycle Club.
Philip O'Brien for unselfishness in the line of duty. Phil seldom if ever takes the comfort of a car to administer his duty. Hail rain, snow or the rare occasion, good weather, he is on the Green (Kawasaki) motorbike.
To those who passed this way and were instrumental in helping the sport. Indeed it was a sad year to lose one official but three was a tragedy. May they be with us from on high?
Eugene Moriarty from the Lee Strand/Cycleways CC who went to Belgium to oversee the Irish lads who went to sample full time cycling. Certainly that's volunteerism at its best, as Eugene had to pass up a number of events to maintain high standards on behalf of Cycling Ireland.