As one of the biggest and most prestigious races in Ireland it is always a tough day in the saddle and this year was no different.
The first 20km of the race are out on the N11, a wide fast main road and although there were a lot of attacks, the bunch was still together turning onto the minor roads.
This is the section where the breakaway usually gets away with twists and turns in the road a group can easily open up a gap and be out of sight. After a few kilometres I punctured a front wheel, I got my hand in the air to let the other riders know I had a mechanical, stopped and got a quick change from the team car. Now the chase was on, I made it to the back of the cavalcade but there was still a long way to go getting past the other 20 team cars.
I took my time and passed a few then took a rest until I was back in the group. After catching my breath I made my way to the front of the bunch and was relieved to see that they were all still together. I tried to get away a number of times with a few others and built up a lead of 20 seconds at one stage but unfortunately with the headwind the main bunch kept reeling us back in.
After 90km, splits started to appear when we turned left onto a very narrow rough road with a slight incline. I found myself in a chase group and we worked well to make it across to the lead riders. Approaching the main climb of Glenmalure it broke up again leaving four at the front with 30 seconds back to about 15 of us.
At the bottom steep part of the climb I wasn’t feeling great but as it went on I made my way to the front and had the leaders in my sights. I was riding at or above threshold trying to bridge across and as I approached the top I could see they were splitting up, as was the case behind.
We descended off the top working together to close the gap but to no avail. A time check of one minute wasn’t what I wanted to hear and it was increasing with riders in our group not contributing to the chase due to having team mates up in front.
I just had to settle for the minor placings sitting third in line with 200 metres to go there was a surge to get to the line when a clash of handlebars resulted in a pile up. After I realised I hadn’t broken anything I got myself to my feet and made the short trip across to the finish.