In what is widely regarded as one of the biggest weekends of road racing in Ireland one rider who stood out from within the peloton at the Tour of The North was Belfast based Chris McGlinchey.
Having been a well known name on the off-road circuit for many years – Chris’s main discipline up until 2015 has been downhill and enduro mountain biking where he has ridden for Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof over the last few seasons. 2015 marked a big chance as McGlinchey made the decision to take on some competitive road racing.
“I’ve utilized the road bike as a core part of my training for a few years but having spent a good deal of time last winter clocking the miles up to help with my enduro fitness I thought I’d give road racing a go”
Making a seamless transition onto the tarmac Chris has rocketed through the ranks at a terrifying pace. Starting as an A4 Cat he has managed to clock up wins in the Annaclone GP and then the Phoenix GP before the Danny Boy Race in Co Londonderry moving up to A2 Cat in just in just four weeks!
Guest riding for Ballymena Road Club, last weekend’s Tour of The North would be his biggest test yet as he took on the 250 mile three day stage race alongside some 120 riders. Saturday’s opening stage provided some close racing with Ex-Vitus Factory Racing MTB rider Gareth McKee (Banbridge CC), Ronan McLaughlin – formally of An Post – Chain Reaction and Thijs Nijvelct (WTOS-Delft) fighting it out for both the KOM and Stage Win. The final run into Ballymena saw Gareth McKee of Banbridge open up a five second lead on the bunch and he just managed to hold this to the line to take the first Yellow Jersey of the event.
Stage 2 saw a comeback from Chris as he smashed the short 2.6 mile TT in just 4mins 57sec to take the Yellow Jersey by one second from McKee. With only 14 seconds separating the top thirteen riders on GC it was all to play for going into the afternoon stage on Saturday. Departing from Ballymena Road Club stage 3 consisted of four laps of a 9.5 mile circuit with a KOM at Lap 1 and Lap 3 before doing a longer loop prior to the fast run into the finish. With tight racing all day sadly the Yellow Jersey was lost to an in-form Dave Watson (North Down CC) who attacked all day to be narrowly beaten in the sprint finish by Jake Hales (SPIRIT Bikes).
Approaching the final stage of the weekend McGlinchy was just 14secs down and sitting in 10th place of GC and with the final day in the saddle consisting of 115km through Co. Antrim it was never going to be an easy day in the saddle.
I’m really pleased with my form this weekend as taking 11th in GC against such a talented field is a big boost for me. I’ve got some Enduro and DH races planned now over the next few weeks – so I hope my fitness holds up.
And when asked if he’ll make the move to road on a more permanent basis? “I’m enjoying it .. but I still love spending time riding off-road.”
Check out Chris’s Vitus Vitesse EVO VRI by clicking the image below