Press-release courtesy of Pearse Mccurdy (pro) VC Glendale & photos credit to Toby Watson

After months of planning the VC Glendale Academy got to the Start line after a long patient wait, in the end, it was a frenzied rush to get everyone kitted out in borrowed club kit from other members who very generously donated jerseys for everyone. The pandemic restrictions seemed like they were never going to end and given all the uncertainty Cycling Ireland was suggesting that a return to racing could happen at the end of May or the start of June. The club, therefore, got all the kit orders together in mid-March and with a lead time of six weeks believed there was plenty of time for the kit to arrive and planned a mid-May press release to launch the Academy. Then Bam!! Before we knew it, with the infections down and the vaccination program in full swing, the racing season was underway and the Academy was lining up the first road race in Annaclone with Darcey Harkness getting us off to a flying start with a podium in the A4 race. More was to follow with the younger riders getting their racing season underway on the Bishopscourt racing track. After Bioracers’ hard work all the riders received their Bioracer Kit and club Branded tracksuits at the end of May and the press launch at the Balmoral Hotel was a great success. The academy is now in full swing and all racing and training with the club, everyone has bonded well together and already we have had inquiries into joining next year! The Academy riders have made a massive impact on the racing scene with wins and placings coming in at a steady stream and with the new kit standing out in the pelotons the Academy setup is certainly making waves throughout the racing community.“This year we set out to get the Academy and running,” explained club secretary, Joe Finnegan.“We had 33 applicants from all over Ireland wanting their kids to get involved because they know the people involved.“It was narrowed down to 17 and we have the backing of local sponsors so what we are setting out to do is coaching and nourish these kids to become elite athletes.“In the future, we hope they can go onto compete in Irish championships and we’ll get them away to Britain and across Europe to compete against the best of the best.”The coaching staff consists of ex-Irish champion Brendan Doherty, Colm Watson who has competed in the eight-day Rás Tailteann, respected coach Mark Harvey and Frank Campbell who will manage it all.“It is a pleasure to be involved in this and see the kids develop,” added Joe. We congratulate all the riders and backroom staff that have brought this all together and with half the season still to go and an off-road season approaching we have a lot to look forward to. We thank all our Sponsors for their valuable support; The Balmoral Hotel https://www.balmoralhotelbelfast.co.uk/, Charles HurstRenault https://www.charleshurstgroup.co.uk/renault/contact-us/renault-belfast, Bioracer https://www.bioracer.co.uk, and CM Tiling https://www.facebook.com/ColinMaclean76Tiling ; this wouldn’t be possible without them

Left to right >> Pearse McCurdy, Brendan Doherty, Curtis McKee, Aine Doherty, Adam Ward, Mark Harvey, Colm Watson
Aine Doherty one of the many super talents of the Academy
Curtis McKee in full flow at the CUYA youth league