Paddy Clarke has put his nightmare An Post Rás behind him by taking victory in tonight’s Claremorris Criterium in horrible weather conditions.
The Castlebar CC rider blitzed the field over the tight 1.3 kilometre course which featured six bends and was made more treacherous by the heavy rain that fell throughout.
Clarke crossed the line first, and was followed 55 seconds later by local rider Sean O’Malley with David Brennan, also of Castlebar CC, in third.
The race was over 45-minute and three-lap event, but was made more difficult for the scratch group as it was handicapped, with the A3 and A4 groups getting a minute on the A1s and A2s.
But Clarke wasted no time in cutting the margin; attacking after 10 minutes and going solo across to those up ahead. Not content to stay put when he caught them and wait for a regrouping, he jumped away again and no one could go with him – though several did try.
Riding on his own out front, Clarke, who is based back home this year after three years in Belgium, pulled out a gap lap by lap as he swept through the bends and come the finish he had almost a minute on the group behind, with O’Malley jumping clear with a lap to go to take 2nd and David Brennan filled the podium when he won the bunch gallop.
The short technical circuit is that good that organisers are hoping to host the National Criterium Championships in the not to distant future. By Brian Canty
Claremorris Criterium Results
1st Patrick Clarke (Castlebar)
2nd Sean O’Malley (Western Lakes)
3rd David Brennan (Castlebar)
4th Chris Troy (Castlebar)
5th Michael Flanagan (Western Lakes)
6th Jason Prendergast (Cunga)
At 10 mins Colm Staunton (Westport)
At 20mins Patrick Clarke (Castlebar)
At 30mins Dave Brennan (Castlebar)
At 40 mins Michael Flanagan (Western Lakes)