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Liam Crowley celebrates a big win after a quality breakaway disintegrated at the Bobby Power Memorial and the UCD man proved strongest in the final charge to the line (Photo: Sean Rowe)

Liam Crowley (UCD Cycling Club) has taken his first win of the season at the Bobby Power Memorial on St Patrick’s Day when he emerged best of a very strong breakaway in the main event.

Crowley, previously of O’Leary Stone Kanturk, arrived at the finish with Daire Feeley (All human-VeloRevoltion) but got the better of him after taking the initiative early just before the finish.

The duo battled it out for victory after managing to shake off the remains of the nine-man breakaway that had dominated the race, run off in fine conditions after the deluge of 12 months ago.

“Feeley threw in an attack with about 2k to go, trying to go solo, but I managed to shut that down,” said Crowley of getting away with the Rás 2022 winner in the last 10km.

“Then I went to the front because there was only about 1k to go and there was a downhill left hander into the steep 200 metre climb to the finish.

“I came into the corner first and I just decided I was going to absolutely launch it from 200 to go. I wasn’t going to wait for any cat and mouse, I was just going to send it up the hill.

“I launched the sprint, I never looked back and Feeley never came around me from the bottom of the climb to the top. I was ecstatic to get the win, it was a big moment for me after putting in a big winter and it was just nice to get that result and prove yourself after putting in the work.”

As well as winner Crowley and runner-up Feeley, also in that breakaway were: Paul Kennedy (Skyline-Cadence), Ruairi Byrne (UCD Cycling Club), JB Murphy (Kilcullen Geospacial), James Delaney (Lucan CRC), Patrick O’Loughlin (Panduit Carrick Wheelers), Ronan Tuomey (Unattached) and Evan Keane (Dan, though Keane lost his place up front after a crash.

Run over the usual 20km circuit out of Clonea, the A2 riders got a gap of two minutes over the A1s, though that advantage was closed down quite quickly, with the All human-VeloRevolution team especially active in the opening stages.

The pressure in the bunch continued after the catch was made very early, with a group of about 20 riders forging clear, before it split again, resulting in the nine-man breakaway that dominated the race.

On the final lap, the front group had trimmed down a little to some six riders, with the attacks coming thick and fast off the front.

Byrne and Murphy were active in those exchanges and got a gap at one point, with Feeley. Eventual race winner Crowley got across to them. Behind the leaders, Kennedy and O’Loughlin were forced into a chase and burnt a few matches as the finish neared.

With about 10km to go, Feeley put in a big attack and when Crowley jumped on his wheel, they were away and never really looked back, though the others were never too far behind.

Coming towards the finish, Crowley decided to take the lead and darted around a left hander downhill, getting ahead just before the incline to the finish line. The UCD man managed to stay a few lengths ahead of Feeley to claim the win from him.

O’Loughlin was next, rounding out the podium for host club Panduit Carrick Wheelers, before UCD’s Byrne placed 4th, with Skyline’s Kennedy 5th and Kilcullen’s Murphy in 6th.

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