Wife and Husband take honours on Stage one of the Ballinrobe 2 day.
In what has to be a bench mark for ladies cycling, Mel Spath, the Irish women road race champion, used the Handicap to maximum advantage when she time trialled away from her ladies bunch at the bottom of the cat 1 climb of Lally’s mountain, in doing so she took all of the top points for the next 4 climbs thus leading the mountains competition by a huge margin.
The race started with 3 groups, the ladies got 10 minutes on the A3 group and a further 3mins back were the A1,A2 group.
The first prime at 16k was taken by Amy Brice DID Electrical and the first 3rd climb at Kinuary was taken by the ladies with Mel Splaith TIBCO.
Behind the NRPT had a few riders jumping away from the A3 group with the A1,A2 group closing fast.
At the Bottom of Lally’s mountain all the action took place, up front Mel Splath left her ladies group and back behind Ryan Sherlock went to work tearing into the A3 group leaving a trail of destruction behind, by the top of the 1st cat climb Ryan was chasing a small group containing mostly NRPT riders with still some ladies holding on with the aid of the handicap.
By the third climb a clear picture was developing, Mel Splath riding for the TIBCO team had a few minutes to spare over the hard chasing Ryan Sherlock of Polygon Sweetnice and the NRPT of Danny Bruton & Fintan Ryan, Dara Freely Donamon, Castlebar’s Cale Coen, Aaron Mc Bride North Pole, Ciaran O Grady TMR@toachimhouse . Behind loads of small groups were chasing hard and with no real bunch forming till later in the stage also by this stage the ladies group had split up and were been absorbed by the chase groups.
On the last Cat 5 climb of Maam Transa, Mel Splaith still had over a minute of the chase group of Ryan Sherlock, just after the descent approaching Finney Sherlock made his move and jumped across to his wife making sure she wouldn’t be caught the drove hard to the finish with Ryan doing the gentleman thing of letting his wife take the stage and the overall.
Behind a strong chase group of Galway bay, Western Lakes and Seven Springs riders mopped up what was left of the break setting up a bunch finish for third.
In what must be unprecedented in Womens cycling Mel Splaith now holds all 3 jerseys going into the Time trail and will get to don the Champion Systems UK Yellow jersey with main sponsor Marrey bikes.
Full GC and TT start list
Results Stage 1
1ST Mel Splath TIBCO
2nd Rayn Sherlock Polygon Sweetnice
3rd Eoin Morton UCD
4th Padraig Marrey Western Lakes CC
5th Fintan Ryan NRPT
6th David Brennan Castlebar CC
7th Darragh Bailey Donamon CC
8th Eoin Whelan Seven Springs
9th Sean O Malley Western Lakes
10th Aaran Mc Bride North Pole
1ST Mel Splath TIBCO
2nd Ryan Sherlock Polygon Sweetnice @2”
3rd Eoin Morton UCD@1:50
4th Padraig Marrey Western Lakes CC@1:50
5th Fintan Ryan NRPT @1:50
6th David Brennan Castlebar CC@1:50
1ST Mel Splath TIBCO 18pts
2nd Ryan Sherlock Polygon Sweetnice 9pts
1ST Mel Splath TIBCO 21pts
2nd Amy Brice DID Electrical 12pts
Most Aggressive A3 rider Fintan Ryan NRPT