John Madden, from Ballycastle, announced his return to cycle road racing with a phenomenal second place finish at the weekend.
The All Ireland and Ulster record holder has not raced for over 2 months due to illness yet was only denied victory by the narrowest of margins in the grueling 60 mile event.
There was a great day’s racing at Anahilt on Saturday when the hard working Dromara club promoted three races. First off was the A race with a massed start of A1-A3 riders. The race went from the drop of the flag on the new 15 mile circuit in glorous sunshine.
A group comprising Desi Foley (Team Basso), Kevin Lynch (Newry Wheelers), Kyle Houston (Phoenix CC) and Jim McConnell of East Antrim Audi were the first to make their move opening a clear gap on two chasers, Darren Weir (Team Vision Racing) and Peter Williams of Shelbourne Orchard.
However with determined riders in the peloton the lead group changed with riders getting across while others dropped back. On the final lap it was Foley with team-mate Simon Williams, John Heverin (Clann Eireann), John Madden (Curran Racing), McConnell, Damian McDonald (Team Vision Racing) and Cathal Smyth and John Smyth of Phoenix who had made the cut.
Coming to the line Williams just took the win ahead of Madden by a tyre width and they were followed in by MacDonald, Cathal Smyth, Heverin and John Smyth. Newly upgraded rider, Apollo’s Matthew Heaney took first Junior ahead of Matthew Brennan (Ballymena Scott Tiles) while Jim McConnell and Conor Campbell (Newry) were first unplaced A3 and A2 riders respectively.
“I felt really good despite the challenging circuit. I was climbing well and did not feel the effects of being out of racing for a few weeks. When the race finally came down to the sprint I actually thought I had got to the line first but I am absolutely delighted that I was awarded second since I really did not expect to come back so strong” Said Madden after the event.
Madden placed second in the Emma McMullan Trophy cycle race at Hillsborough on Saturday only missing out on victory by the narrowest of margins. This bodes well for the All Ireland National Vets Road Race Championships at the end of June where Madden hopes to compete.
Results A Race - Emma McMullan Trophy
1. Simon Williams (Team Basso Today’s Cyclist)
2. John Madden (Curran Racing)
3. Cathal Smyth (Phoenix CC)
4. Damian MacDonald(Team Vision Racing)
5. John Heverin (Clann Eireann)
6. John Smyth (Phoenix CC)