What a weekend of racing at this year’s Tour of Omagh! The Island Wheelers sent a four-man team to tackle the prestigious A4 three-day races.
Cathal Mc Laughlin, Owen Campbell, Dermot Donaghy, and Sean Scullion made up the team that took to the start line for stage one of four on Friday.
The team got off to a flying start with Dermot Donaghy coming home a fantastic 8th in the bunch sprint at the end of what was a very fast stage – 25mph average for the 41 mile stage. Sean, Owen, and Cathal all finished safely in the bunch with the same time.
Saturday saw the Wheelers take on stage 2; a testing 44 mile stage with a couple of climbs that would give the riders a taste of what was in store on the final hilly stage! The stage finished in another bunch sprint, with Cathal and Dermot coming home safely in the bunch, giving them the same time as the race leader in the general classification by the end of the stage.
Going into the final day, the top 53 riders all shared the same time in the general classification, however this would soon change with a short 2.5 mile TT, and a 37.5mile stage with a hill top finish. Stage 3 was the TT, and saw Owen Campbell put in a flying 2.5miles to finish 16th on the stage. Cathal, Dermot, and Sean weren’t too far behind and were only separated by a matter of seconds, leaving everyone in a good position going into the final stage.
This entailed a hilltop finish on the Lenamore Road Climb – a 1.5mile climb that averages over 7%. With peaks just over 20%, it was certain that the race was going to blow apart, and sure enough it did!
Thankfully, Cathal, who had been riding a smart race to keep himself within striking distance going into the final stage, had the legs to produce a fantastic ride and finished an excellent 6th, enough to take him up to 6th overall - a remarkable result for Cathal only in his first year racing.
To make the result even sweeter – Cathal, who only needed 3 points going into the Tour of Omagh, picked up 8 points and gained promotion to the A3 ranks.
The promotion is nothing more than deserved, and was only a matter of time for Cathal thanks to his hard work and dedication throughout the season. Best of luck in the A3 ranks, it’ll not be long before you’re picking up the points there too!
Sean Scullion was the next Wheeler to finish the stage, only a couple of minutes behind Cathal on the stage and mid-pack overall in the general classification. A fantastic result for a Sean, considering in his first ever 3 Day race, showing that as well as being a fantastic mountain biker – he can mix it up with the roadies!
Owen and Dermot also both did the club proud and finished the tough 3 days with a couple of excellent results; an 8th in opening stage for Dermot, and 16th for Owen in TT.
A massive congratulations goes to the four lads, doing the Island Wheelers proud! Thank you to all Wheelers behind the scene who helped – James McLaughlin, Aidan Lafferty, and Gerry McVeigh - and to Omagh Wheelers for hosting one of the best organised and run events in the calendar. A credit to all involved, from marshalling, support, twitter updates, refreshments – every aspect of the race was taken care of and the lads loved every minute of it!