OMAGH Wheelers, despite a number of setbacks, marked their historic debut at the notorious An Post Ras by finishing sixth county team overall.
Davy McFall and Stephen McKenna were both forced to pull out of the gruelling eight-day cycle due to injury and illness however Gary Donaldson (81st), Kevin McKinney (53rd) and Darragh McCarter (91st) completed the 1200 kilometres to record an impressive team result.
The ultimate ambition for the Wheelers team was to finish the event and Donaldson was delighted the local representatives had exceeded expectations
“It’s a completely different level of racing and it was good to see the standard,” he said following Sunday’s finish in Skerries.
“The Ras has some of the best riders in the world. There were a couple of World Tour riders, it just shows the standard of the race. It was a great experience to be part of it.
“It was physically and mentally hard but I and the lads had some great rides. We showed we could compete up to a point.
“That said each day it just got harder and harder. As we got more tired the pros just seemed to be getting into it.
“Stages six and seven were the most difficult. On stage six there were seven categorised climbs and we were riding in 29 degrees. That stage was in Donegal and it included Mamore Gap and Glengesh.
“Overall we showed we just weren’t just getting around it. We didn’t compete for wins but it was the next best thing. We were holding our own.”
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