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Dublin Skip Gorey 3 Day - NE

Ireland, April 19-21, 2003

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Stage 4 - April 21: Gorey - Gorey, 54 miles

Hardwick on top, Colbert on form

By Shane Stokes,

Killorglin's Theo Hardwick today secured a fine win in the Dublin Skip Gorey 3 Day, safely maintaining his slender advantage over the many rivals who were within striking distance of his race lead. Principal threats to his lead were second-placed Danny Lynch (Kanturk), who won both stages yesterday and was just five seconds in arrears, and stage one winner Andrew McQuaid (Emerald), 13 seconds back. However a total of sixteen others were within one minute of the yellow jersey and with 54 miles of rolling, gusty roads, the second year junior was facing a tough day in the saddle.

Undeterred by the intermittent rain and chilly conditions, fourth placed Sean Bracken (Usher IRC) wasted little time in trying to overhaul his 19 seconds deficit, attacking two miles after the drop of the flag. Once recaptured, Finglas Ravens rider Kieran Kane had a go, but he too was reeled in after a brief spell out front. Indeed a similar fate awaited all the early moves; gaps would open, but with the Hardwick, his team and the bunch in general all seemingly committed to a group finish, little leeway was given.

The first break of any duration occurred after Baltinglass (36 miles) when a short-lived attack by Hugh Davis (Usher) was countered by a move containing five riders. Derek Finnegan (Navan RC), Noel McGlynn (Finglas Ravens), Mark McLeavey (Leinster), Aidan O'Shea (Killorglin Credit Union) and David Lane (UCD) opened up a 14 seconds advantage, and bolstered soon afterwards by the presence of David Duke (Usher IRC), John Wall (North Kildare), Declan Kinch (Bray), Wayne McGuire (North Bucks), Bobby Behan (Cycleways) and Emmet Hogan (Galway Bay), they looked to be in with a chance. And while the bunch did succeed in dragging some of these back, Kinch, Duke, O'Shea, McGlynn and Behan pressed on ahead with a handful of other riders to raise the stakes once more.

The new combination of aggressors included the yellow jersey, Lynch, McQuaid, Ray Cullen (Autoview) and Mark Cassidy (Cycleways Lee Strand) and, fully committed to the cause, they started moving out of sight of the bunch on the narrow, twisting roads towards Blessington. At first it was Behan and Cassidy who were most visible at the front, but in time all the others started to contribute equally. Even the yellow jersey was riding, moving through on the paceline rather than sitting at the back and so helping to further their chances of staying away. And yet, despite all this, the bunch did hold the gap to half a minute, before gradually, inexorably, reeling in those up front with two miles to go. Under such circumstances, the traditional stage four bunch finish was to be expected but Tile Choice/Murphy Gunn rider Mark Colbert seized the moment and profited from a slight stall to leap clear.

From there to the line it was a short, flat out effort and one which was rewarded with a fine victory. Next home was team-mate Keith Bannon, taking the bunch sprint with ease ahead of Kanturk duo Willie Curtin and Lynch, while Derek Finnegan (Navan RC) and Jonathan Cruise (Bray Wheelers) wheeled across the line in fifth and sixth. Further back in the bunch was a satisfied Hardwick, who finished in the same time as all the big danger men and so took a fine win.

'It was a hard, wet day out there,' said Colbert afterwards. 'I felt pretty good during the stage and while I hadn't planned beforehand to have a go when I did, things worked out that way. There was a little stall when we caught the break and I went then, and from there it was just a case of head down, arse up all the way to the line.'

'I am using the road races to get some fast miles in for track racing - I am on the team which is hoping to do well in the B world championships and get to the Olympics. My coach Mark Kiely has also been advising Keith (Bannon) and it worked out well for us today, to get first and second on the stage.'

Bannon was well pleased with his ride, although he light-heartedly rued the missed opportunity to repeat his 1992 win on the final leg of the race. 'Mark messed it up for me when he went at the end,' he laughed. 'I won here eleven years ago and it would have been nice to do it again, but first and second for the team is really good.'

And so the classification ended out as it had began 54 miles earlier, with Hardwick, Lynch, and McQuaid occupying the first three positions overall. Fourth-placed Bracken was best of the veterans, while Bill Millar (Carlow RC) and Hardwick were on top in the senior 3 and junior categories. Louise Moriarty (Leinster) rode strongly all weekend to come out best in the womens' ranking, finishing towards the front in the bunch finishes and ending the race four minutes, 45 seconds ahead of Marie Reilly and over ten minutes clear of Collette Swift (both Irish team). They - and the other female contestants in the race - are hoping to secure a place on the team for the B world championships later this year. Like most of the Dublin Skip Gorey 3 day field, they will be hoping that this well organised, very competitive event will lead to an increase in race fitness and some good performances in the coming weeks.


1 Mark Colbert (Tile Choice/Murphy Gunn)           2.16.44
2 K. Bannon (Tile Choice/Murphy Gunn)                 0.03
3 W. Curtin (Kanturk)
4 D. Lynch (Kanturk)
5 D. Finnegan (Navan RC)
6 J. Cruise (Bray Wheelers)
7 C. Crawley (Stamullen M. Donnelly)
8 D. Irwin (Leinster)
Final general classification
1 Theo Hardwick (Killorglin Credit Union)          7.49.39
2 D. Lynch (Kanturk Credit Union)                     0.05
3 A. McQuaid (Emerald)                                0.13
4 S. Bracken (Usher IRC)                              0.19
5 B. Woods (Killorglin Credit Union)                  0.20
6 B. Behan (Cycleways Lee Strand)                     0.21
7 E. McMahon (Cycleways Lee Strand)                   0.24
8 D. Kinch (Bray Wheelers)                            0.32
9 B. Miller (Carlow RC)                               0.35
10 P. Reid (Ravens CRT)                               0.37
Junior classification
1 Theo Hardwick (Killorglin Credit Union)          7.49.39
2 B. Woods (Killorglin Credit Union)                  0.20
3 M. Nestor (Shannonside)                             0.37
Senior 3 classification
1 Bill Millar (Carlow RC)                          7.50.14
2 N. McGlynn (Finglas Ravens)                         0.31
3 P. Sinnet (North Bucks Road Club)                   0.44
Women classification
1 Louise Moriarty (Leinster)                         8.05.05
2 M. Reilly (Hibernian Team Ireland)                    4.45
3 C. Swift (Hibernian Team Ireland)                    10.37
Veteran classification
1 Sean Bracken (Usher IRC)                           7.49.58
2 S. Willingham (CRCA Sanchez Metro)                    0.19
3 D. McCarthy (DPC First Legal)                         0.34