Bann Wheeler Nigel Quigley produced some exceptional rides within the three stage races and time trial in the Tour of the North 2014 to finish first in the Veterans category.
The first stage of the fiftieth edition of the Tour of the North promoted by the NICF took to the roads in glorious sunshine.
The route took the riders along the Antrim coast and up some of the beautiful glens and the scenery was stunning. However the riders did not have time to admire the view as the racing went from the gun.
This was no Saturday run along the coast but good quality international racing which saw riders clock an average speeed of 27 miles per hour at the end of the race. Early into the race a small group went away and began to open a gap on the chasing peloton.
In an exciting first stage of the 2014 Tour of the North, Fraser Duncan of Northern Dave Kane took a well deserved win from James Cullen of Velosure Giordana. The two riders had broken away from a break of seven in the closing miles to go on their own.
Nigel and Bobby Kane, the other Bann Wheeler rider, both finished comfortably in the main peloton, two minutes 23 seconds off the lead.
The time trial was the second stage of the Tour of the North and Marcus Christie recorded the fastest time in the two mile time trial at Woodgreen.
Christie’s time of 4m 38.45s was enough to deny the Velosure Giordana Team the monopoly on the podium places as they went on to take the next four places.
Nigel was one of the only other two Ulster riders in the top ten with a time of 5m 00.32s.
Stage three of the Tour of the North saw many attempts at breaks which all came to nothing with riders watching for every move.
In the end it came down to a bunch sprint with Fraser Duncan of Northern Dave Kane showing his explosive power which saw him take the stage win from Peter Hawkins of the Cycling Ulster Slane Cycles team.
Nigel finished 13th in the lead group with the same time as the leaders. Unfortunately Bobby had to withdraw from the race due to a bout of cramp.
In the fourth and final stage, Fraser Duncan ticked off a remarkable treble when he won his third stage of the 50th Edition of the Tour of the North but despite this feat of winning all the road stages it was still not enough to achieve outright victory.
That accolade goes to Englishman James Gullen riding for the professional Velosure Giordana outfit.
Gullen had gained 11 seconds on Duncan in the short Time Trial stage on Sunday morning but this small margin ensured that he maintained the Yellow Jersey and finished top on General Classification in this international stage race.
This final stage saw Nigel in a bunch sprint to take seventh place with the same time as the leaders.
The overall classification placed Nigel 11th in the international event which is an exceptional result.
Many thanks are due to the band of ‘behind the scenes people’ who acted as static marshalls. Also thanks to Nigel and Bobby’s road team, Sean and Konrad Kealey and J.C Halliday for their sponsorship.
For more information, photographs and event details, visit the BWCC website, www.bannwheelers.com