A full five man squad of Apollo riders took part in last weekends Loughguile 2 day cycle race promoted by Ballymoney cycling club. The format of the race was a circuit race on the Saturday morning followed by a 5km time trial in the evening, Sunday was to be a tough Mountainous loop in the Glens of Antrim.
The teams main objectives where to get selected GC rider and Team captain Tony Hare as high up the classification as possible with a secondary objective of placing well in the team competition.
With 8 riders in the starting line up Ballymoney was always going to be the team to beat and sure enough attacks started going of the front of the bunch from the start but with so many fresh legs in the peleton everything came back for a bunch sprint at the end where Tony Hare with great support from Campbell Armstrong and Davy Quinn managed to bag 5th place. With the whole bunch on the same time the evening Time trial was going to be vital and the teams decision not to bring specialised time trial bikes proved a costly one with Tony putting in the best time of the team but crucially losing almost 30 seconds to Stevie Baines of Audi East Antim who had chosen to bring his TT bike to the event. Tony still secured a good position in the GC.
The final stage on Sunday Began with 3 flatish circuits followed by a longer mountainous loop so the team plan was to get Marty Rogers and Enda McDaid ,two strong riders on the flat to push the pace on at the start and soften the bunch up for Tony’s assault on the Yellow Jearsey. On Lap two Marty Rogers rolled through at the front of the bunch followed by Tony and Adrian Finnegan of Banbridge cycling club a strong rider well known to local cyclists. Marty saw the opportunityand slowed up letting the pair slip of the front of the bunch, the rest of the team spotted the move immediately and along with Liam McKivergan the Banbridge team mate of Adrian move to the front of the bunch to disrupt any chase only allowing two other riders to move across to strengthen the break.
The Yellow Jearsey became increasingly worried about Tony in the break and began to chase bringing the race all back together at the start of the mountainous section of the race, at this point the strong men moved to the front and despite his efforts in the break Tony was able to go with them and again finished as teams best place rider and secure a top 15 place overall. The rest of the team all finished battered and bruised but well enough to see them in second place in the team competition, all in all a very successfull weekend.
Ballymoney cycling club are to be congratulated on running this inaugural event and it will definitely be an event Apollo will put in the calendar for next year.