Team Report: Suir Valley 3 Day International Tour Ireland


Maxgear’s Dillon Bryne is third in the Suir Valley 3 Day International Tour Ireland against the might of An Post and Rapha

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CHAMPION SYSTEM/MAXGEAR/BASE RACING TEAM: (Dillon Byrne, Martyn Crawford, Wayne Greenhalgh, John Rigby, Ian Roberts, Steve Smith)

The Suir Valley 3 Day International Tour based in Clonmel Southern Ireland took place at the weekend 2,3,4 August. With an international field of teams including Rapha Condor, Sean Kelly’s (who was there) AN Post, Polygon Sweetnice, Euro Cycles, Planet Tri RT and our own Champion System/maxgear/base team and a field of 140 riders including Sam Bennet, Ronnan McLoughlin, Hugh Carthy, Felix English, etc it was going to be a tough race over the 4 stages.

Stage 1
With the stage of 115km covering rolling grippy roads with two cat 2 climbs and one cat 1 climb, it was going to be tough with all riders feeling fresh and looking to make their mark on the race.

As the race left the town of Clonmel and neutralised (if 60Kph riding over and the wrong way around traffic islands/furniture is what you call neutralised) the flag dropped and straight away and an attack from AN Posts Sam Bennet was followed by our rider Steve Smith.

Dillon attacked and joined with a Rapha rider and 3 others. O’Brien and Felix English got across but the fresh peloton reeled them all back in. Maxgear riders John and Dillon then got in a break with Carthy but after 10km it also got brought back. Bennett and English then countered getting a good gap. The Maxgear riders Greenhalgh, Roberts, Crawford and Rigby then got on the front and rode to limit the gap before the first climb.

After the climb, Obrien, Carthy (Rapha), Dowling, Bennett and McLaughlin (AN Post) broke clear and bridged. Dillon then attacked to bridge and took Wilson (national u23 champion), Stevenson (rapha), and Christie with him. With 30km to the finish and the groups made contact leaving a front group of nine riders. 2 km from the finish Obrien made a move with Bennett and the other riders let them go.

Dillon was outnumbered by other team mates and left it to Rapha to chase but they didn’t. Obrien took the win over Bennet with Dillon 5th. After working hard, the other Maxgear riders rode home with two suffering punctures and having to give chase.

GC Dillon 5th, Rigby 63rd, Gordon 71st, Roberts 82nd, Smith 88th. Greenhalgh 94th.
GC Team 5th out of 19.
71 miles average speed 26.2mph.
(Written by Greenhalgh, sorry if the account is slightly wrong, was suffering from lack of oxygen to the brain at the time!)

Stage 2, a morning 92km trek starting and finishing in Clonmel
This stage was always going to be fast with ‘just’ three category 2 climbs and a rolling course the record time was 2hr 4mins. At the start line the riders were offered their own weight in Magners Cider if they won and beat the time!

With Dillon 30 seconds off the yellow jersey, the team’s job was to get Dillon in a front break without the leader and then to counter and deter a chase. Many attacks went and were brought back until Dillon managed to get a way with a group of around 10 riders including Carthy of Rapha.

For the next 25 miles, the team chased and countered many attacks with great effect. “As we’d countered the last attack, I saw the polka dot jersey make a move and shouted to John (5 wheels up) to go with it. He did and six riders got away without the leader. This meant we had two riders in the front two breaks and the leader with me” said Wayne.

“I could tell he was becoming panicky with 10KM to go as he went to the front and we were flat out through the villages and small roads. With one last climb, Bennet made his move and managed to slip the group showing his power and determination. He made it to John’s group and rode straight to the front. John sat in the wheels and watched Bennett as he pulled the group along.

Meanwhile Dillon in the front group was riding hard and as they entered Clonmel, the group was sent the wrong way on the second to last corner! Two riders saw the mistake and took first and second and was won by Bennett’s An Post team-mate Jack Wilson from Ed Lavery (Rapha Condor JLT) with Dillon allocated the same time due to the routing mistake.

After them, 20 seconds later came the Bennett-led group, with the main peloton another 50 seconds or so further back. That meant Dillon was now up to 2nd and Carthy 3rd both 16 seconds back. A great result and the teams plans worked perfectly. GC Dillon 2nd, Rigby 32nd, Gordon 72ndt, Roberts 82nd, Smith 88th. Greenhalgh 94th.
GC Team 5th out of 19. 57.8miles average speed 27.52mph.

Stage 3, an Evening Crit of 45 minutes plus 3 laps.
With Dillon leading the CDNW Preston crit series back home, we knew he’d be up for stage 3 the town centre crit. With massive crowds and with the rain staying away, the race was decided within the first lap. The guys in contention were ll at the front and the rest of us fighting for wheels.

The idea for our team was for Dillon, Steve and John to ride at the front, Wayne, Ian and Martyn saving some energy for the first part of stage 4. With Felix English having such a great Tour Series we knew he’d be there and sure enough he managed to slip the front group with AN Post rider Shane Archibald. They stayed away with Archibald taking the win.

Bennet managed to get a two second gap on Dillon and Carthy in the closing stages, with Dillon placed 17th and Steve Smith having a great ride in 23rd in the front group. GC Dillon 3rd, Rigby 39th, Smith 65th, Gordon 80th , Roberts 87th , Greenhalgh 92nd. GC Team 6th out of 19.

Stage 4, 136km over 2 first cat climbs and 1 second cat.
Stage 4 was always going to be the toughest, 82 miles with two first cat climbs including ‘The Vee’ and one second cat climb including the mountain finish.

With Dillon 3rd on GC we needed to make sure he wasn’t taken off the podium and to help AN Post and Rapha in the early part of the race. We knew Dillon was in top form but would have to ride hard to keep with the climbers. The first 40 miles before the first 1st cat climb, were mostly wide roads with long drags before the small roads at the bottom of the climb.

The first attack went as soon as the flag was dropped and as the gap got around the minute mark Wayne, Ian, Martyn and John got onto the front of the peloton and started to ride hard. For the next 10 miles into a block headwind the guys worked solidly. This helped keep the breakaway in touch and keep Dillon fresh.

On the way to the foot of the climb, Wayne quickly made sure everyone had bottles and gels, ferrying back and forth through 100+ riders and cars and then back to the front to take the peloton at speed to the foot of the climb.

On the first climb, Carthy of rapha made a move and joined the front break. This then made AN Post work in bringing him back. Dillon could then sit in and wait. Over the second climb, Carthy took it and sealed the KOM jersey. AN Post slowly reeled in the break and let it dangle before catching it and Carthy towards the foot of the climb.

It was all going to come down to the last cat 1 climb. One lone rider attacked but the lead group containing Bennet, Dillon and Carthy reeled him in half way up. With Carthy attacking a few times, Bennett chased and Dillon hung in there. It all came down to a sprint with Bennett taking the victory and Overall. Dillon had a great ride and retained his 3rd overall.

Final GC (97 finishers out of 140)
GC Dillon 3rd, Rigby 54th, Smith 64th, Gordon ?, Roberts 82nd , Greenhalgh 87th
GC Team 6th out of 19.




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