Leech’s Ireland debut: “The last 10km killed me but I had to finish”
Conor Leech made an impressive Irish debut at the European junior road race championships this week in France, the young Clonard CC man doing well to finish on a day so many more were listed as non-finishers. Leech is the Irish rider with the black helmet, above, on the start line with Xeno Young and Jake Gray.
By Brian Canty
Conor Leech made his Irish debut at the European junior road race championships in France this week and though he didn’t manage to finish with the main bunch he gave a really impressive account.
The Clonard CC man was 109th some 8:52 down on winner Nicolas Malle of France and said the experience was something he’ll never forget.
“I was delighted to have just been selected; it made all the winter training worthwhile and it was one of my goals at the start of the season to ride for Ireland,” he said.
“I was a bit nervous on the start-line as I didn’t really know what I was heading into.
“I didn’t really have a job for the race. I was just hoping to stay in the bunch as long as possible.”
The Leech brothers are ripping it up for Clonard, a club linked to another great cycling family the Mayes who won a huge number of races back in the day (Photo: Sean Rowe)
He rode a solid race and managed to stay with the leaders for just over 100 of the 123-kilometre contest.
“The atmosphere was class; it was something completely new to me,” he recalled.
“Going up the climb every lap was unreal with the crowds and the noise, it made some of the pain in the legs go away for a while!
“I would have liked to have finished in the bunch but I got dropped around 15 kilometres to go when somebody lost the wheel ahead of me and I just wasn’t able to close the gap.
“The last 10 kilometres killed me on my own but I had to finish,” he added.
Overall, the team were pleased with Jake Gray and Robert O’Leary both finishing in big groups around three minutes down as Ben Walsh and Xeno Young but had to contend with crashes and mechanicals.
“Obviously the two lads (Young and Walsh) were disappointed that is bike racing.”
Leech plans to take a break now and look forward to his first year as an U23 in 2017.
And after a season where he finished seventh overall at the Junior Tour, rode an excellent national championships (bronze) and took a number of fine results he has every right to be confident of making the step-up.
Link to Stickybottle Article http://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/leech-on-his-ireland-debut-the-last-10km-killed-me-but-i-had-to-finish/
More info on the Europeans available here;
Clonard post https://clonardroadclub.com/archives/1762
UEC Road European Championships Post http://uec.ch/en/component/k2/item/513-2016-uec-road-european-championship-all-info.html
Here below, all info about the next 2016 UEC Road European Championships that will be held in Plumelec – Morbihan – Bretagne (Fra).
Timing and details
|Type de diffusion
3 races (17/18.09) live
|Europe (54 pays)
3 races (17/18.09) live
|Asie Pacifique (17 pays)