Perseverance pays off.
REPRODUCED IN FULL FROM WWW.STICKYBOTTLE.COM
By Brian Canty
Karol Stafford took his first ever win yesterday afternoon when he claimed the honours in the A2-A3 race at the Bray Wheelers-promoted Christy McManus Memorial in Roundwood, Co. Wicklow.
The Waterford Racing Club man was quickest at the end of the seven lap, 85-kilometre contest as he edged his nine breakaway companions.
They’d been away for the final two laps and though their advantage swelled to 50” at one point, they were almost caught as they sprinted for the win.
“It’s my first win, absolutely delighted to get it,” said an elated Stafford after.
“I started as an A4 rider and worked my way up to A2 over the years through minor placings.
“I thought this year was a write-off because I had tendonitis for six months last year and I only started training in January so it was nice to get the win,” he added.
“A couple of breaks were going here and there over the first five laps and I was just sitting in the bunch watching what was going on.
“I thought the breaks wouldn’t stick but on the fifth lap a break went and it looked dangerous. I missed it but I could still see it up the road.
“Then one of the Slaney lads jumped, I went with him and we worked together to get across to the eight up ahead.”
In the escape were the top 10 in the results – and Stafford knew he had a chance if they stayed away.
“We had 50 seconds at one stage but on the last lap it was going down and in the end there was only 10 seconds between us and the bunch when I crossed the line.
“I have a decent enough sprint, I’m not a big bunch sprinter but in a smaller sprint I’ve a decent enough kick.
“So going into the last 400 metres I was thinking ‘don’t get boxed in, you’ve a decent sprint if you stay towards the front’.
“Then one of the Tralee lads (Ciarán Slattery) attacked and I got on his wheel without fully committing but he ran out of steam a little bit and I went and got around him.
“I was in the centre of the road, waiting for someone to come either side of me but no, I just saw the line and I knew I had it.”
Christy McManus Memorial, A2-A3
Sat, June 18th: Roundwood, Co Wicklow
Promoted by Bray Wheelers
1 Karol Stafford (Waterford RC)
2 Ciaran Slattery (Tralee BC-iBike)
3 Patrick Goszczyk Bikeworx
4 Fionn Jordon (Slaney CC)
5 Paul Bolger (Slaney CC)
6 Bryan Geary (Orwell Wheelers)
7 Paul Kinch (Slipstream CC)
8 Ciaran Leech (Clonard CC)
9 John McDonald (Waterford RC)
10 Conor Leech (Clondard CC)
- Women’s Prize: Michelle Geoghegan (Napoleon Games)
- Unplaced Bray Wheeler: Jason Howick