Two world championship medalists are among more than 350 riders who will take part in the UCI Verge Cross cycling event in Clonmel, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday week, October 15 and 16.
The Class Two UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) races will feature some high-profile riders from Ireland and abroad, as they battle for world ranking points.
Held at Powerstown Park in Clonmel, the event is in its second edition and will be one of the highlights of the Irish cyclocross season.
And with a round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup being held in the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin on December 11, UCI Verge Clonmel is a showpiece of the domestic season that will also feature a new national series beginning on November 19.
Presenting a unique opportunity for Irish domestic riders to compete against top quality international riders, race director John Dempsey is looking forward to this year’s edition after a successful 2021 event.
He says, “Last year went really well, we had 350 riders but we’re hoping for a bit more this year. We’re just excited about two full days of racing. I’m just really excited and happy about the quality of the riders that are coming.
“We are proud that riders of the caliber of Anna Kay and Thomas Mein in particular are happy to travel to Clonmel for the second edition of Cross Clonmel, which speaks volumes for the race’s good reputation after only one year on the international calendar.
“It’s the high point of the Irish Cyclocross season, it’s early in the season and the national championships are a long way away, but it’s the only chance for the Irish domestic riders to test themselves against the international riders.
“For the normal rider who races in the Munster or Ulster Cyclocross League on a Sunday, this is a great chance for them to ride against the big guys and see how fast is fast.”
October 16 will see UCI-ranked races held for junior men and women as well as elite men and women.
Underage racing will be a central focus on October 15, with a full complement of races scheduled. There will also be M40, M50 and M60 races on October 16, with a support race for beginners on October 15.
Entries for the race are open until this Sunday, October 9 for both domestic and international riders.
British national champion Thomas Mein has been confirmed for the start list on October 16 and is among the leading contenders in the elite men’s race.
The 23-year-old took over from the current Cyclocross world champion Tom Pidcock in the British national champion’s jersey earlier this year.
British rider Anna Kay is another big-name rider on the start list for the women’s elite race and is expected to be among the top contenders.
The 23-year-old won a bronze medal in the Cyclocross World Championships Under 23 race in 2020.
The UK’s biggest cyclocross team, Garden Shed UK- Ribble- Verge Sport, will bring a full team over to compete in Clonmel this year. They’re aiming to follow up wins in last year’s event with more success in 2022. The team will have three riders in the elite men’s race in Toby Barnes, Jenson Young and Joe Coukham, while Libby Bell is among the favorites for the elite women’s race, and the duo of Oli Akers and Seb Grindley are confirmed for the men’s junior race.
Team owner Jenson Young said:
“It is a privilege to be able to bring a full team over to the Clonmel Cross this year. We thank Clonmel Cycling Club and Verge Sport for all their support, and following on from our success of last year we are hoping for more of the same.”
Following victory for Dan Barnes in the elite men’s and Amira Mellor’s victory in the elite women’s race in 2021, Team Spectra Wiggle are also hoping to defend their titles in 2022.
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