Halfords Tour Series Ireland

Two-day mini-tournament on the Emerald Isle

During the weekend's lull in England's Halfords Tour Series, the event shipped over to Ireland for a two-race mini-series in Belfast and Dublin.

Day 1: Belfast – 18 June

David O’Loughlin soloed to an emotional victory outside of Belfast’s City Hall in Friday's first stage, helping his AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team into the lead of the two-race series. The 32-year-old from Mayo held off the chasing peloton over the closing two laps to cross the line arms aloft by himself.

Behind O’Loughlin, his AN Post team-mates Matt Brammeier and Maxim Debusschere both came home inside the top five to give the team of cycling legend Sean Kelly a resounding victory.

The AN Post team were pushed all the way to the line by CyclePremier.com-Metaltek, for whom Tony Gibb won the bunch kick to take second position. There was further success for the CyclePremier.com mob as Andrew Magnier won the Boardman Bike Sprint competition, pulling on the yellow jersey on the podium.

With a flat, wide, 1km course at the heart of Belfast, it was no surprise that the pace was instantly high. Lots of teams and riders took the chance to show their jerseys at the front, but until a group of five went away after a quarter of an hour of racing, no moves could stick.

The five professional trade teams were represented in the bunch, with Magnier, Debusschere, Tom Murphy, Richard Handley and James Sampson working well together to build a healthy advantage, despite the efforts of the Team Ireland-led peloton to reduce the gap.

Despite the efforts of Gibb and CyclePremier.com-Metaltek to disrupt the chase, a big turn by Dan Martin (guesting in his Garmin-Transitions kit) ahead of the second Boardman Bikes Sprint narrowed the gap to just a handful of meters.

This allowed a further five riders to leap across, but Martin wasn’t one of them. Instead the same five teams were again represented, with O’Loughlin, Peter Williams, Richard Hepworth, Stephen Adams and James Stewart joining their teammates at the front.

Again work by a Martyn Irvine-led Team Ireland and Martin hauled the gap back down, allowing the Garmin-Transitions rider to cross the split making it eleven riders at the front. With this the gap went back out once more, but not for long as the main field eventually made the catch.

Another four riders did try to break away, but it was O’Loughlin whose attempt proved successful in the closing laps. Escaping the peloton, who wavered in their chase for just long enough to ensure success, O’Loughlin then held them off over the final two laps, using all of his pursuit skills to hold his advantage to the line.

Crossing the line arms wide and a broad grin on his face, O’Loughlin takes the honour of the first Irish victor in The Halfords Tour Series. His AN Post team take the ten points for the win, ensuring they wear the orange Halfords leader’s in Saturday nights Dublin race.

Halfords Tour Series Belfast results

Team

1 AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team

2 CyclePremier.com-Metaltek

3 Cycling Ulster-Slanes Cycles

4 Sigma Sport-Specialized

5 Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta

6 Team Ireland

7 Team Raleigh

8 Munster

9 Leinster

10 Connacht

Individual

1 David O’Loughlin (AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team)

2 Tony Gibb (CyclePremier.com-Metaltek)

3 Matt Brammeier (AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team)

4 Maxim Debusschere (AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team)

5 Jason White (CyclePremier.com-Metaltek)

Halfords Tour Series standings

1 AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team

2 CyclePremier.com-Metaltek

3 Cycling Ulster-Slanes Cycles

4 Sigma Sport-Specialized

5 Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta

6 Team Ireland

7 Team Raleigh

8 Munster

9 Leinster

10 Connacht

Boardman Bikes Sprints Competition results

1 Andrew Magnier (CyclePremier.com-Metaltek)                           13pts

2 Tom Murray (Sigma Sport-Specialized)                                        12pts

3 Richard Handley (Team Raleigh)                                                   8pts

Boardman Bikes Sprints Competition standings

1 Andrew Magnier (CyclePremier.com-Metaltek)                            13pts

2 Tom Murray (Sigma Sport-Specialized)                                         12pts

3 Richard Handley (Team Raleigh)                                                    8pts

Day 2: Dublin – 19 June

Garmin-Transitions’ Dan Martin rode to a dominant solo victory in the Halfords Tour Series Dublin, lapping almost the entire field to take the win on Lord Edward Street.

Behind Martin, the AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team took the team victory for the second night running, but in vastly different style to Belfast as a quartet of orange clad riders escaped to cross the line side-by-side, confirming overall victory in the two-race series.

In front of large, knowledgeable and enthusiastic crowds in the historic Temple Bar area of Dublin, Martin attacked early on in the race and never looked back. Despite a late mechanical problem bringing the chasing AN Post group back into view, the Garmin rider held on for a popular victory.

Martin also took the honours in the Boardman Bikes Sprint competition on the night, securing the overall honours in that competition in the process.

AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling team take the overall Halfords Tour Series victory by four points from CyclePremier.com-Metaltek and Sigma Sport-Specialized, while Cycling Ulster-Slanes Cycles finish fifth on 13 points as the top provincial outfit, ahead of both Team Raleigh and Team Ireland.

The Halfords Tour Series Dublin results

Team

1 AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team

2 Sigma Sport-Specialized

3 Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta

4 CyclePremier.com-Metaltek

5 Team Raleigh

6 Cycling Ulster-Slanes Cycles

7 Team Ireland

8 Leinster

9 Connacht

10 Munster

Individual

1 Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions)

2 Maxim Debusschere (AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team)

3 Mark Cassidy (AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team)

4 Matt Brammeier (AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team)

5 David O’Loughlin (AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team)

The Halfords Tour Series Ireland final standings

1 AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team                                  20pts

2 CyclePremier.com-Metaltek                                             16pts

3 Sigma Sport – Specialized                                               16pts

4 Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta                                             14pts

5 Cycling Ulster-Slanes Cycles                                          13pts

6 Team Raleigh                                                                     10pts

7 Team Ireland                                                                       9pts

8 Leinster                                                                                 5pts

9 Munster                                                                                 3pts

10 Connacht                                                                            3pts

Boardman Bikes Sprints Competition results

1 Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions)                                     15pts

2 Mark Cassidy (AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team)       12pts  

3 Matt Brammeier (AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team)   9pts

Boardman Bikes Sprints Competition final standings

1 Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions)                                      15pts

2 Andrew Magnier (CyclePremier.com-Metaltek)              13pts

3 Tom Murray (Sigma Sport-Specialized)                           12pts

For more information on the Halfords Tour Series, visit www.tourseries.ie.

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