Let us start with our young Irish junior stars…”The luck of the Irish” was not present, but hell they battled till the end…a photo report with my thoughts, with thanks to Caroline and Sean in Harrogate

Lara Gillespie had to walk the last 300 meters as a mechanical happened, just when the sprint for gold started, finishing in 39th. Lara had also her fill of crashes but at least she is unhurt. The 3 Irish Girls in the race can be very proud of themselves as they have proved that the can compete on the highest level (Photo Caroline Kerley)
Lucy O’Donnell battled till the end despite been hampered with crashes and changing bikes, who prevented her to move up to the front of the race, she finished the race in 86th with a smile and an acknowledgement to the crowd and supporters…now that is class (Photo caroline Kerley)
County Mayo’s Maeve Gallagher has represented her country in a way we all should be very proud of, just like her teammates…also in contention for the medal before the crash at the 300-meter mark, already cut and bruised from a previous crash she shakes herself off and still raced to the finish line…a 25th doesn’t reflect her race as been at the front of the race till disaster struck (Photo sean Rowe)
Unlucky Kevin Mc Cambridge, got a mechanical when the front start attacking and the pace went up dramatically, got sorted and got back after a long chase, but the front group was gone and it was an effort to much for our Antrim star...there is more to come in the future from this young gentleman, that I am sure about!!! (Photo Caroline)
Archie Ryan having a chat with an unknown West Belfast supporter…lol. Archie had a hard day in the saddle and by his own words didn’t have the legs to perform as we used of him…he finished the race in 69th place, the weather conditions awful and a very hard course didn’t help either… (Photo Caroline)
The Under 23 men’s Race
Espoir Ben Healy was the only entry for Team Ireland in the U23 men race, and from the start very active upfront and got himself in the eventually winning break, had to give way when that group start breaking up before they hit the local circuit and the front riders pulled away including the eventual winner, Ben ended up 50th over the line out of the massive 150+ entered. With the controversial decision after the race, it overshadowed a brilliant race.
Right decision rules-wise? maybe…but the wrong one human wise?…a big debate has started and overshadowed the champs in Harrogate (Photo courtesy PhotoNews)

The way I see this, and I could be wrong but hey I see this from a human point of view…Yes, the rules have to be there to make if a fair contest, but making a decision an hour after the race has finished, this due to some incidents happened in the race 130km before the finish is cruel. If the Dutch winner has breached these rules of drafting, he should have been taken out the race there and then. This didn’t happen and the panel of commissaries held an inquiry after the finish to study some video footage not available for the normal public from the moto commissaire in the cavalcade. Drafting happens all the time in racing, and mostly happens when a crash or a mechanical mishap has occurred to bring the riders back to the back of the race and give them a fair chance to continue after such bad luck but against the UCI rules, the idea is not to stay too long behind one car at one time and move up the cavalcade to rejoin… In the case of the poor Dutch lad, he crashed early in the race, got his shoulder dislocated and he put it back in place himself which is very painful at the crash site, and start chasing back, met his team car and took a drink (some say he took a sticky bottle but on TV it was only a very short moment and no evidence of hanging on as such) Nils then placed himself for a short while behind his team car but how long he did, this we didn’t see. I have seen much worse drafting in the Vuelta this year and very little was done about it, and my concern is more directed to the consistency of punishing the guilty ones and when to do it!! as it seems cruel what happen to Nils Eekhoff to be told he was DQF so long after the race, while waiting to go on the podium…A hefty fine would have been appropriate if he was guilty as the race judges couldn’t act at the time of the alleged offence…The Italian eventually winner who came second was flabbergasted as he was already ecstatic getting silver and getting gold instead…he must have mixed feelings too. My rant over and it doesn’t happen very often that I defend a Dutchman..lol

No shortage of Irish craic and support in Yorkshire (Photo Caroline)