Cycling fans will be hoping that it’s a case of third time lucky for Mullingar professional Damien Shaw when the town plays host to the National Criterium Championships this evening (Friday June 15).
The two previous occasions that local cycling club Lakeside Wheelers hosted the National Criterium Championships, 2011 and 2012, Shaw finished in second place.
Now cycling for the Yorkshire based Holdsworth Pro Cycling team, Shaw comes into the Criterium in good form after finishing fourth in last month’s Rás Tailteann, the third year in succession that he has end the race in the top five. The former Lakeside Wheelers man will be up against a field of around 50 of Ireland’s best pro and amateur cyclists.
A criterium is a race typically held on a short town or city based circuit, ideally less than 2km in length with lots of sharp turns and hills. The Mullingar circuit is 1.2km and runs from Days Bazaar, Oliver Plunkett Street, turning left at Galvin’s Menswear before entering Blackhall carpark.
From here it travels downhill behind the council offices offices before turning left to climb Jail Hill and Mount Street then another left turn back onto Oliver Plunkett Street.
Streets will be closed from approx 6.40pm with racing starting at 7pm. Traffic diversions will be in place and all business on the circuit will receive an information flyer with route details.
Racing commences with a ladies’ exhibition race at 7pm. The ladies will race for 25 minutes then complete two more laps.
At 8pm the men’s National Criterium race will get under way. This race will last for 50 minutes and three laps.
The starting list for tonight’s races can be viewed here.