Local cycling record holder John Madden (Inspired Cycling) won the gold medal at the Irish road race championships on Saturday.
Madden, who this coached by Stephen Gallagher of Dig Deep Coaching and receives the backing of the Portrush and based Velo Culture triathlon and cycle shop, out sprinted his lone breakaway companion after the 62 man field was reduced to just two in the final few miles. Madden was a thoroughly deserving winner of the national masters 50 race in Kilcullen, though Donal Mahon of Galway Bay CC pushed him to the absolute limit. Madden was among the happiest of men coming out of Kilcullen with the Irish masters 50 gold medal safely stowed on the back seat of his car.
The Inspired Cycling man was runner-up to Declan Hanrahan (Carrick Wheelers) last year but went one better this time around. He escaped late with Donal Mahon of Galway Bay CC and pipped him in the two-up sprint for the line.
“I’m absolutely delighted, I can’t disguise the fact that it’s extra sweet after coming second last year,” Madden said gleefully. “It was nice to get away and I must admit, Donal worked well when we broke clear. I was aggressive all day in staying at the front and covering moves but I was being watched, so any time I attacked everyone was dragging groups across to me, but with a lap to go the two of us got away.
“I tried to drop Mahon on the last climb but he was a lightly made-up guy and he caught me on the downhill and we came into the finish together. I remember thinking ‘here we go, two left hand bends and a sprint finish, I’m having déjà vu from last year’…”
Fortunately, Madden took it up the sprint early and powered for the line for a win nobody could begrudge him for.
“It just felt fantastic to take the road race jersey and add it to the time trial champions jersey I won last year.
It’s my best win on the road. I’m not a natural road racer; I’ve only done two this year because they’re near where I live and they’re on iconic circuits,” he said of the Wallace Caldwell Memorial and Red Hand Trophy races run by Ballymena Road Club.
“The road racing is something I stay away from because I work in Roddensvale School and crashes are synonymous with road racing so I try to reduce the odds of being involved in anything that might put me off work. Having said that, I love it, there’s a certain buzz in it you don’t get in time trial races. There’s a different feel to it and it’s lovely. It’s my biggest ever win and really sweet and special.”
It certainly was a challenging course in Kilcullen. The riders had to complete three laps of a 15 mile circuit which was far from flat. The course took the riders through the centre of a small town each lap which also included a sharp up hill section over speed ramps.
The M50 event saw some hard racing with a few riders trying to shake off the bunch at times. Madden was a prime mover constantly attacking and monitoring every breakaway move.
“I am really delighted to have won the gold medal and to have lifted the coveted winner’s national jersey. I learned a valuable lesson last year and was ready for the sprint when I could not shake Mahon off on the last climb. I have had many massages of congratulations and support from those who recognize what winning the national title meant to me today” said Madden after the event.”
Madden took Gold in the Irish Masters M50 Championship in Kilcullen this weekend. He has a few other goals in mind for the rest of the season so let’s all hope this result will spring him into more winning ways in his future races.
Sat, June 25th: Masters 50 Road Race National Championship
Kilcullen, Co Kildare (78km)
Promoted by Orwell and Kilcullen
1 Madden,John Inspired Cycling 1h55’46”
2 Mahon,Donal Galway Bay
3 Bolger,Paul Slaney CC @01’06”
4 Woods,Des Newry Wheelers
5 Bracken,Sean Usher IRC @01’21”
6 Brady,John Team Smartlamps @01’31”