Tour of the North in Ballymena

23 April 2011
P&O Tour of the north in Ballymena

The P&O Ferries tour of the north stage race started on Good Friday evening with the traditional prologue time trial at Stormont.

Ninety six riders took part in the tough 1100 metres uphill test with Peter Hawkins coming out on top with a time of 1 minute 45.90 seconds.

Three time tour winner Ryan Connor (Cycling Ulster) from Ahoghill recorded 1 minute 54.04 seconds for twelfth.

BRC associate members Conor and Leo McAllister who were also riding on the Cycling Ulster team were 26th and 41st respectively.

Ballymena Road Club didn't have enough riders to make up a full team and Matthew Brennan was happy to secure a "guest” ride on the Stamullen selection. Matthew recorded 2 minutes 9.09 seconds for 70th place.

Results (1) Peter Hawkins Cycling Ulster 01 minute 45.90 seconds (2) Roger Aiken Planet X 01'49.78" (3) Chris Reilly Cuchulainn 01'51.82" (4) Folkert De Haan Gaul.NL 01'52.10" (5) Joost Vermue USWV De Domrenner 01'52.25" (6) Paul Bethel Team Bglobal 01'52.67"

and Peter Lilley Slane Cycles 01'52.67"

Local performances were:

(12) Ryan Connor Cycling Ulster 01'54.04" (26) Conor McAllister Cycling Ulster 01'57.53" (41) Leo McAllister Cycling Ulster 02'02.62"

(56) Chris Beattie Stamullen 02'05.35" (66) Martin Robb Slane Cycles 02'08.56" (70) Matthew Brennan Stamullen 02'09.09"

Saturday's stage of the tour took the riders 66.35 miles from Portadown via Stewartstown, Ballyronan, Toomebridge and Portglenone to Galgorm.

Four riders broke clear during the early part of the race. Included were last week's Wallace Caldwell race winner Adam Armstrong, his Eurocycles team mate Thomas Martin, Simon Williams (Basso) and Richard Bott (Herbalife).

Martin was first over the two king of the hills primes at Roguery and Skerdan road and he still had enough in reserve to take second place at the Galgorm finish. However it was Simon Williams who beat the Eurocycles pair in the sprint finish, winning the stage in 2 hours 23 minutes 39 seconds for an average speed of 27.43 mph.

Bott was dropped late in the race but held on for fourth at 1 minute 33 seconds.

The main pack, which was 56 riders strong and racing for eighth place, came in 3 minutes 29 seconds behind the winner.

Included in this group were (24) Conor McAllister (52) Matthew Brennan and (57) Ryan Connor.

Chris Beattie was 68th at 4.22 while Leo McAllister and Martin Robb were 85th and 86th at 8.58

Armstrong took over the race lead by 2 seconds from Williams with Martin third at 11 seconds. Ryan Connor was 14th at 3.30. Conor McAllister 24th at 3.33. (52) Brennan at 3.45 (73) Beattie at 4.34 (85) Leo McAllister at 9.07 (86) Robb at 9.13.

Result stage 2 Tour of the North 2011
(1) Simon Williams Team Basso 2h23'39" (2) Thomas Martin Eurocycles @ s/t (3) Adam Armstrong Eurocycles @ s/t (4) Richard Bott Herbalife-Wheelbase @01'33" (5) Maint Berkenbosh Gaul.NL @02'21" (6) Roger Aiken Planet X @03'14"

The tour riders were greeted by members of the "Green Pastures” church at Galgorm who handed out drinks to all the participants, crème eggs were also distributed to the waiting spectators. Former BRC Chairman Rodney Agnew was amongst the Green pastures team. A very welcoming gesture, many thanks Rodney.