The team had a great and exciting few days at the AmberGreen Energy Tour of Ulster race over the May Bank Holiday weekend based in Moy, Co-Tyrone. The stage race is internationally known and is one of the hardest stage races in Ireland, only the best teams enter. The race over the 3 days took in the counties Armagh, Tyrone, Antrim and Down and had over 15 categorised climbs.
Mark Dowling took 6th overall, the points Jersey for best finisher over the 3 days, 11th on Stage 1, 3rd on Stage 2 and 6th on Stage 3. Simon Ryan won Stage 3 and they were supported gallantly by Stephen Murray, Michael Fitzgerald and James Davenport.
Stage 1: Saturday April 29th - 150KM
The first stage of this year’s AmberGreen Tour of Ulster departed from Moy in County Tyrone at Midday, covering over 90 miles and 6 categorised climbs. The team and support cars, stayed in Monaghan the night before in order to be ready and closer to the start the day. The race made its way through the rolling roads of Stewartstown and Cookstown before the first King of the Mountains of the day at Pomeroy and then on to Ballygawley with another Category 3 climb on the way. Turning off the main Ballygawley-Omagh road, the race headed towards the first Category 1 climb at Sion Finn Mountain – a 4 mile pull to the summit. It was a fast descent from here into Fivemiletown, Clogher and Augher before reaching Aughnacloy. The next Categorised climb was a Category 2 at Rehargy Road, a 3 mile long drag to the top. Stiloga Road is the final Category 2 climb of Stage 1 and ramps up very steeply from the main road at 85 miles in. The race was split to pieces by the end with our riders splintered into the 5 groups on the road. James Davenport made the main break of the day and was out the front along with 8 riders for 70miles before being caught by a large group which decided the finish. Mark Dowling finished 11th 46 seconds down on the winner of the stage being helped by Simon Ryan and James. Stephen Murray and Mick Fitzgerald came home in the bunch.
Stage 2: Sunday April 30th - 150km
The race departed at the earlier time of 10am for almost 100 miles heading South towards Armagh and Newry taking in the first 2 Categorised climbs of a total of 6 for the day before the 25 mile mark at Newry. In Newry the race followed the road to Hilltown where riders took on the first Category 1 climb at Spelga – a 2.1 mile savage long climb to the top before descending back towards Hilltown. The route then made its way to Rathfriland and Banbridge and meandered around the County Down countryside. The final Categorised climb of the day was at 80 miles just after Tandragee, after which it will be a fast run into the finish in The Moy. Again James Davenport made the main break of the day before being hauled in and finishing back in the bunch. Mark Dowling sprinted home to a fine 3rd in the 2nd group after being helped by Stephen, Mick and Simon who came home in groups which were all over the road after a savage days riding.
Stage 3: May 1st - 120km
This stage was a 16km circuit around the town of Moy being covered 7 times. The pace was frantic from the off as there was the a General Classification up for grabs between 2 riders. After 120km the race was decided in a hectic bunch sprint after only coming together within the last 1 km and our rider Simon Ryan took the stage honours with Mark Dowling coming home in 6th place and with this placing also taking the Green Points Jersey. Stephen, Mick and James played great supporting riders getting Mark and Simon into position for their amazing places.
More info on the teams facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/Strata3VeloRevolutionCyclingTeam/posts/916244718518287