Archive for January 8th, 2008

Paul Griffin returned to Malaysia last weekend after a brief break for Christmas in his home town of Tralee, Co. Kerry.

He was one of two Irishmen that are in the line up for the seven day event Jelajah Malaysia. David McCann from Belfast is his team mate on the Giant Asia Team and both have competed in the last number of of years in Le Tour de Langkawi which starts next month in Alo Setar.


Incidentally, similiar to last season, Paul started racing in January and finished up the week before Christmas (2007) in the Tour of Thailand.

Now he is back on the campaign trail where it began twelve months ago.

And, again he is showing that indeed with proper management of training and rest that he can compete at the higest level.

Yesterday was one of those days when the ‘Kingdom’ competitor was in the action after one third of the race stage of 176kms had been negoiated. Naturally with the exception of Team Matrix-Powertag from Japan all the possible conters were up front and dictating the pace. The group powered along at a rate of knots which brought their advantage up to over four minutes before the alarm bells rang in the peloton. Then a conserted effort by the Japanese team started making inroads into the lead group.

Advantage gained by a break is not easily surrendered and the lead of the 13 man group started to shed competitors in the last 30ks of racing. From, behind, the counter attacks were coming fast and furious but the leaders stuck to their task and Griffin was doing his level best to cojoled the leaders in sticking to the task that lay ahead. ‘I had visions of breaking the mould which would give us a cushion for the next six days, providing we kept the manoeuvre and the tempo at a hig rate of knots,’ said Paul.

The defining moment in the lead group came in the last 15kms of racing when a six of the original thirteen went ahead to contest the finish in Port Dickson alongside the Malacca Straits. (Not that they were in any mood to view the panoramic view of the blus sea.

In the end the advantage of having raced and competed with the Discovery Channel team last season bore all the hallmarks for Li Fuyu from china and representing the Marco polo Team based out of Hong Kong to show a clean pair of wheels to the quintet who lacked the acceleration that Fuyu showed in rgistering a stage win.

”It was a great day’s racing for me. Just back from home after the Christmas, it was important that I got back into the routine. Malaysia has always been good to me . last season I would reckon was one of the best for both Giant Asia and myself. Wiining the team prize in Le Tour de Langkawi was a bonus. As I said to you last year in Fraser Hill after Charteau from the the Credit Agricole stamped his authority, the season is only beginning,’ said Paul.

Stage 1- Jelajah Malaysia – Putrajaya – Port Dickson, 176.5 Km

Results
1 Fuyu Li (China) Trek Marco Polo Team,4hrs.12mins.19secs;
2 Marcel Strauss (Switzerland) Team Stegcomputer – CKT – Cogeas, same time;
3 Jacob Nielsen (Denmark) Team Farso, st;
4 Paul Griffin (Ireland) Giant Asia Racing Team, st;
5 David McCann (Ireland) Giant Asia Team, @3.17.

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Banbridge Cycling Club’s Roger Aiken was back in the winner’s enclosure as the National Irish Cyclo-Cross yesterday in Tymon Park, Dublin 24. Defending champion Robin Seymour of Team WORC had to settle for second place as the Banbridge competitor got the vital start and led from pillar to post.

Joe McCall who had reason to celebrate with getting into the frame for the first time in 16 years with a well deserved Bronze medal.

The Championships were complemented with a number of events prior to the big one and as a result the conditions on the grassy sections were made that little bit trickier for the competitors.

Still, the 55 starters livened up the proceedings with a fair amount of aggression which kept the spectators amused for most of the event.

Towards the end, Roger also an accomplised roadie more or less took the foot off the accelorator on the final lap and was ackowledging the fans for their enthusiasm.

‘’It must have been those extra Weetabix at breakfast this morning that made the difference. It was important that I got a good start and from then on it was a matter of consolidating my lead which varied from lap one to 10 seconds to 50 seconds in the intervening laps,’’ said Roger who warmly accepted Robin’s congratulations on a job well done.

One wonders now, if we have seen the last of Robin who has dominated the sport since the 90’s? Yesterday, was not a day for making decisions, but my gut feeling is that Robin has rode his last cyclo-cross championship and maybe his last race at this discipline.

He now faces into an extraordinary situation, where he has dominated in another aspect of the sport! Mountainbiking all along has been his love and last year he went all out to accumulate points necessary for Irelands inclusion at the Bejing Olympics which are scheduled for August of this year.

Recently it was announced that Ireland had indeed secured a place on the start line as per their standing as rated 24th in the world. Robin has three events starting on March the 9th in the beautiful Kilruddery Estate in Bray, Co Wicklow to put his imprimatur on the dotted line for the games.

Within 200 meters of the start it was the Banbridge competitor who was dictating the pace to the other 54 hopefuls who had admittedly were more pre-occupied being in the shake up for the bronze medal as the two R’s are specialists at negotiating off road conditions.

Considering the conditions and with the terrain cutting up the average time for each of the eight laps was on the 7 minutes plus.

Irish National Cyclo-Cross Championships, Tymon Park, Dublin 24.

DETAILS:

1, Roger Aiken (Banbridge) 1 hour 1 min 32 secs

2, Robin Seymour (Team Worc) at 28 secs

3, Joe McCall (K Capital Rocky Mountain) at 4 mins 9 secs

4, Philip Roche (Team Worc) at 6 mins 9 secs

5, Lewis Ferguson (Dave Kane Northern) at 6 mins 45 secs

6, Mark Allen (Swords CC) at 7 mins 35 secs

7, Liam McGreevey (Banbridge) at 7 mins 55 secs (1st junior)

8, Graham Boyd (XMTB) at 1 lap

9, Robert Lamont (XMTB) at 1 lap (1st vet)

10, Evan Ryan (Team WORC) at 1 lap

Team: Team WORC

Veterans

1, Robert Lamont (XMTB)

2, Aiden McDonald (Apollo CT)

3, Gerry McCabe (Cuchailinn CC)

Junior

1, Liam McGreevey (Banbridge)

2, Graham Boyd (XMTB)

Women:

1, Tarja Owens (Team WORC) 1 hour 50 secs

2, Sarah Piner (Lakeside) 1 hour 11 mins 23 secs

3, Heather Boyd (Ravens) at 1 lap

Underage:

Under 14:

1, Matt Adair (Banbridge) 13 mins 16 secs

2, Mantis Spirgius (Team Juice) at 40 secs

3, Seam Barr (Team Juice) at 3 mins 21 secs

4, Clare Oakley (XMTB) at 3 mins 28 secs

5, Ben Gregory (unattached) at 3 mins 55 secs

Under 12:

1, Chris Oakley (XMTB)

2, Dan Runciman (Banbridge)

3, Zak Hanna (Dromara CC)

4, Rachel Mayne (Banbridge)

Under 10:

1, James Curry (Banbridge) 10 mins 51 secs

2, Joseph Boyd (Banbridge) at 2 mins 14 secs

3, Elis Keogh (Epic) at 3 mins 23 secs.

results courtesy of Shane Stokes/Cyclingnews.com