Foreword Dany B: “Coming from the Island Wheelers, one of the most successful clubs in Ireland when it comes to producing and nursing champions, and now racing for the Tyrone’s Caldwell Cycles which has a big CV too, he took off this year as a whippet towards the hare!! He certainly made sure that the Irish National Champ jersey be seen here and abroad, had to let the jersey go at this years Champs in Dungannon, losing it to his friend from Armagh Seth Dunwoody, but didn’t let the head down as you will notice in this report below in his own words…A young lad I have a lot of time for, and it will not be long before big name teams are knocking on his door, as he can sprint, climb, an ace at the track and CX…an all rounder which will be noticed!! Well done young man…you done your province, country, your team, and the project proud!!” (All photos of Martine Verfaillie, or otherwise indicated, with thanks!)
I had a really busy summer of racing this year following from the nationals. The weekend after I raced the Newry 3 day which I managed to win the last stage from the break and take the GC overall as well.(Photo of Oisin winning the last stage at the Newry 3-day beginning July, courtesy of John Hammer)
Following the 3 Day was the Junior tour which I rode for on the national team, it was a really good week both personally and for the team, I won 2 stages, had a 3rd and a 4th, as well as winning the Green Jersey in the points classification. The week stared off well with Liam winning the first stage and taking the yellow jersey, which he held until the last stage when he crashed with 500m to go and lost the overall. There were some mixed feelings after the final stage as although I was able to get the stage win and take the green jersey, we were all disappointed to lose the overall because of a crash. (photo below taken from the Junior Tour social media)
After the junior tour I took a couple of weeks away from racing to prepare for the Youth Commonwealth Games in Trinidad and Tobago. It was an amazing experience to travel and be competing so far away and at a multi-sport event. After we arrived we had a few days to get ready for the TT and get a look at the course. The course was very flat and not very technical, but it was one which suited me. In the TT I finished up 5th, a result I was very satisfied with. Following this we had a couple of days to the road race. I went into the road race quite confident following the TT, the race couldn’t have gone any better for me. I managed to get in a breakaway on the 2nd of 13 laps with one other rider, Max Bufton from Wales. We stayed away to the finish, and I won the Sprint. It was an amazing feeling to be able to cross the line first here and is an experience I will never forget. A huge thanks to everyone at Team NI for giving me the opportunity and all the support they provided. (photo taken from Oisin’s social media pages)
Two days after I arrived home from Trinidad, I travelled out to Belgium for the second time this year to stay with Rik and Sabien, who I can’t thank enough for how well they took care of me and for taking and supporting me at the races. When I arrived out there were already three other graduates in Belgium Josh and Joseph, staying with Rik and Sabien, as well as Darragh who was staying with Martine. My first race was in Loppem, it was a very technical circuit with over 30 corners a lap and was a good way to kick off my racing in Belgium, I finished in the middle of the bunch in 30th. My second race was in Helkijn, I managed to get into a breakaway on the first lap and We stayed away until the finish, I managed to get 3rd from the break. The following day I raced again in Kortemark-Edewalle where I managed to get 3rd again after being in the break for most of the race. My best result came two days later in Ruiselede where I got 2nd, after making the breakaway again.
Following these results I did a UCI race, La Route Des Geants, where I guest rode for a Belgian team, WP De Molensputers Meulebeke. It was a great experience getting to race over both the monteburg and the Kemmelburg, which we went over three times. Unfortunately, I had some bad luck in the race and got a flat wheel while I was in a break, I managed to get a wheel change and made my way back to the bunch. I finished up 33rd rolling in in the bunch.
My final race was in Kooigem, I got away on the last lap in a group of four and finished up just behind the winning break by about 10seconds, coming in 9th.
I was really happy with my racing in Belgium and with the experience I gained from getting to race here, I can’t thank the Belgian Project enough for helping me out and to Rik and Sabien for taking me into their house. (photos below BP Media team)
My focus now shifts to the Europeans on the 23rd September and after this few weeks to reset and maybe some cyclocross through the winter. (photo below from Oisin’s social media pages winning on the track champs in May, one of 4 gold medals)