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Fiona Mangan has won the Cycling Ireland National Road Series 2021 in what is her first full season in the peloton (Photo: Bryan Keane – Inpho)

Fiona Mangan has confirmed her status as one of the best riders in the country with victory in the Cycling Ireland National Road Series 2021. Her 4th place at the Des Hanlon Memorial in Co Carlow yesterday ensured he was crowned series winner; capping an incredible year.

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Mangan is almost a complete newcomer to cycling. Her
first UCI-ranked race was last year’s National Road Championships. Since then
she has not only won the Cycling Ireland National Road Series but has also made
her Ireland debut.

The 25-year-old Limerick woman played Gaelic football in a previous life, with Mungret St Paul’s GAA, before she moved into triathlon. That transition only came about when she went to Atlanta in the US for college – to study to be a biomedical engineer.

She joined the triathlon club at university to keep fit and compete, but mainly as a means of going to camps at weekends so she could explore the area. When the pandemic struck last year, the combination of a running injury and swimming pools being closed meant she began to focus solely on her cycling.

As she was back living at home in Limerick at the time, she began training with Greenmount Cycling Academy and placed 10th in the National Road Championships last October. It was a result that went under the radar; something that could not be said about her performances this season.

Fiona Mangan in the green of Ireland finishing Rás na mBan stage 3 atop the climb of The Cut in Co Laois on what was her national team debut (Photo: Sean Rowe)

At the start of this year she took advantage of remote working and went to Spain to race while continuing in her day job. She based herself in Girona and raced with Costa Brava Mediterranean Foods before returning to Ireland this summer.

Mangan really made her breakthrough in the Newcastle West Stage Race in her native Limerick in July-August; winning three of the four stages as well as the overall and the points classification. That impressive run saw her take the lead in the National Road Series.

The two rounds since then – the John Beggs Memorial in Co Down in August and the Des Hanlon Memorial in Co Carlow yesterday – were both won by Caoimhe O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar). However, Mangan was 2nd at ‘The Beggs’ and placed 4th at the ‘Des Hanlon’ yesterday, wrapping up her series win.

“I am so happy to take the jersey,” she said after her
series victory yesterday. “It was a great race. It was a bit slow at the start
but once the hills came the girls just kept attacking, which was brilliant. It
definitely put us to the test.

“I am really happy, coming off Rás na mBan it was good to
get a bit of racing before the National Championships next week. I am just so
happy to keep the jersey and it’s a great way to finish off the season.”

Mangan also rode on the national team at Rás na mBan earlier this month; working hard for team leader Alice Sharpe yet still finishing 17th overall. She goes into next weekend’s National Road Championships as one of the favourites; a massive turn around or her status as an unknown rider just a few months ago.


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