A sun dredged Easter Monday and an epic finale of the TOTN 2019. Results courtesy of the Time Team TOTN. Feature and some action photo’s courtesy of Sharon Mc Farland. All other BP media team
The Tour of the North is mostly known for his weather conditions, this time again but in a positive way as the Sun gods were on our side for a change. The final stage set in the beautiful surroundings of the Antrim Coast and his famous climb the “Torr Head” a long gruelling beast with some 25% ascend sections who set the race on fire. Overlooking the Irish Sea and the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland on a good day. The peloton was thinned down to 85 riders from the 120 who started the race Saturday morning in Galgorm.
We had a crash in the neutral zone and the race start was delayed with a half an hour due to replacements and repair of bikes at the spot. Mostly walking wounded and hopefully their injuries or not too serious. The first climb (Crosslieve) brought the big hitters up front with Craig McAuley making his intentions clear…no points in the KOH at the start of the day and winning the jersey at the finish!! Took 3 climbs and a 3th at the Torr to put the dolka jersey home! Next was the Torr Head ( KOM Cat 1) were the bunch disintegrated as expected…The descent of the Torr was awesome, driving behind the cavalcade as comm driver I had to have my wits about as high speeds to keep things tight, a special feeling nevertheless.
We still had 2 climbs to come turning back to Ballymena and 4 riders went to the front of the race and never seen back again. A winning move that decided the jerseys as the race leader Nathan Draper (Zappi Racing -Holdsworth) was left behind. The chase group with most of the other candidates lost ground rapidly and the race was to be held up front…They got about 3 minutes after the last climb and save enough to get home undisturbed. Reece woods (Zappi Team) won the sprint of 3 as Craig McAuley had to let them go in the last km (his job was done taking the Mountain GC) Amazing 17 year old junior Kevin Mc Cambridge took second and “comeback to road racing kid” David Montgomery 3rd. First chaser Jordan Peacock (Spirit Tifosi) in 4th and the rest of the chase in a minute later with Archie Ryan (Zappi) taking 5th.
A great long weekend came to an end, loved every minute of it, the camaraderie of all involved, the sunny weather, the reunion of long-standing friends and of course my cycling family. Well done Joan Mark Mc Cullough and all the volunteers of the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation (promoters) and thank you to the PSNI for keeping us safe, the Ambulance crew, the commissaires, the timekeepers, the teams and his warriors…Here below the final results and some atmospheric photos for you to enjoy…Will I be back next year? Well does the bear shit in the woods..lol