It was Eve McCrystal’s moment to shine at the Cycling Ireland Road National Championships in Sligo last weekend when the Garda Cycling Club powerhouse seized her first National Title in the Elite Women’s Road Racing event.
“I have been waiting for this for so long, and I will wear my jersey with pride,” said and emotional McCrystal after the race. “It’s amazing – it’s a long time coming. I just can’t believe it.”
“It was really hard – the climb, I just had to dig in on the third lap. I had to really hang in and do what I could do. At the end I had to see if I could go over the top with them and play to my strengths and go for the sprint.”
Raced over a 102km route which included a significant climb, Orla Hendron made the early attacks while further attacks came on lap two from Imogen Cotter and Hilary Hughes.
At the halfway mark, national champion in the elite women’s time trial, Kelly Murphy, piled on the pressure at the climb, resulting in a depleted lined out bunch with just five riders left to contest the medals.
This breakaway group included McCrystal, Gurley, Sharpe and Katherine Smyth with the strength of the group pushing the distance out to over three minutes over the chasing group.
On the final climb, Murphy once again lifted the pace but, with 200m to go ,McCrystal made her way from fourth to first, just pipping Gurley on the line.