The weekend was another busy one, starting on Saturday with Rachel Glendon taking home a national medal, and former member Lydia Boylan taking the top of the podium in a regional champs in the UK. On Sunday, while all eyes were on the start of the An Post Rás, at least two Orwell Wheelers were busy elsewhere: Philippe Bourdarias took a fighting third spot in A3 Emyvale, while A4 Neil Whelan also scooped a brilliant third in Dungarvan!

Before we deal with Sunday's action, the Orwell women have been having a strong week, with Trish Buckley taking top honours in both the night's race and the overall at the Orwell Wheelworx Ladies Crit League on Tuesday night. Orla Hendron took silver for the club in the A division, with Monica Marconi, Rachel Kaye-Mellor, Isabel Cogan and Charlotte MacDonald all featuring in the top ten. In the B division, Gráinne Coghlan and Celeste Marin were 8th and 9th overall respectively, a very solid showing for the club!

At the weekend then, our all-round TT champ Rachel Glendon was competing in the National Middle Distance Triathlon Championships in Westmeath. With a shortened swim section not playing to Glendon's strengths, she still romped home in third place, earning herself a Bronze medal and a spot on the podium! She led the swim, was second off the bike, and only fell to third place in the run. While she may ponder what might've been with a full length swim, we hope she's still deservedly proud and pleased with her performance.

In the UK meanwhile, ex-Orwell Lydia Boylan was racing in the British Cycling South East Region Women's Regional Road Race Championships (there's a mouthful!). Boylan was recently in action in the Bedford 3 Day, where she grabbed third on the first stage, and finished top of the Irish in 15th overall. With her legs hardened from that tough weekend, she sprinted to victory after 80km on Saturday to claim the champs! Our heartiest congratulations from across the water to her!

With the Leinster race for the weekend - Sunday's Dungarvan GP - so far south, Emyvale was the destination of choice for many Dublin-based riders. Frenchman Philippe Bourdarias was one of those who made the trip, and was well rewarded when it came down to a bunch gallop in the A3 race.

Bourdarias was one of three riders mentioned by Emyvale GP as keeping the pressure high throughout, but was the only one of those to place. Errigal's Danny Hunter won with ample distance to spare, as the next three places were decided by the finish line camera. Bourdarias attacked late, managing to pip a Dublin Wheeler to the line to get his third spot, and was only a few centimetres behind the second-placed rider. He regretted not unleashing his sprint a little sooner, but we're confident that we'll see Bourdarias moving up the podium soon enough!

The A3 finish in Emyvale (video courtesy of Emyvale CC)

In Dungarvan, a shortened two-lap race over a lumpy course made for exciting racing. While the winner jumped sooner than the A3 Emyvale affair, it still came down to a bunch sprint for second. Local man Mark Radley was at the head, but our own Neil Whelan pushed hard to take a magnificent third spot.

That represents Whelan's first placing, and with it the first points of the season. He's already halfway to A3, and it won't take long to get there with another result like this weekend's!

And finally to the Rás start line in Dunboyne, where the eight-day epic kicked off in glorious sunshine. The team were in the process of preparing both mentally and physically when we dropped by, car and van looking shiny and professional, bikes lined up and raring for action. Eric Downey was interviewed by Black Umbrella, and we hope to see that published somewhere soon. You can read a bit more about the team in our profile piece here

The lads were quick to thank the crowd who turned out in great numbers for the fundraising barbecue on Tuesday night, and to Zurich Insurance for providing insurance for the team support car and van.

El President decrees Vino's carrot cake the winner of the bake-off

Seeing off the team were a large crowd of family, friends and significant others. 2013's winner of the county rider prize on stage 7 and current StickyBottle columnist Brian Ahern was there to dish out some advice, as well as last year's soigneur, Rachel Glendon, seemingly fresh from her efforts the day before. We also spotted El President Dave T and Orla Hendron, league winner Trish Buckley, Paul Tansey, Colm Ahern, NRPT rider Darragh Long, ex-Orwell Caroline Martinez and plenty of other club members all out to wish the team well. Apologies if we've missed or forgotten anyone!

The full team (L-R): Tom Blennerhassett, Aidan Collins, Eric Downey, Diarmuid Collins, Odhrán Connors, Aidan Crowley, Brian Hayden, Graham Thomas. Click the photo to see more from the opening stage.

GC sheets will be available throughout the week on and if you haven't seen it already for Stage 1, Diarmuid is currently 10th in the A2 classification, and the team are 6th in the county team competition. Diarmuid, Eric and Odhran all finished in the lead group today, only losing time to the two breakaway men. Everyone finished safely though, and ready for Stage 2 - already underway and finishing later in Nenagh.

Stage 1 highlights, keep an eye out for the Orwell jersies! (video courtesy of Black Umbrella Photography)

Emyvale GP (A1/A2)

1 Ciaran O'Conluain (UCD)
2 Glen Kinning (East tyrone CC)
3 Greg Swinard (Usher IRC)
4 Neil Delahaye (Dunboyne CC)
5 David Wherity (Stamullen CC)
6 Greg Sweetman (Stamullen CC)

A3 Race

1 Danny Hunter (Errigal CC)
2 Jonathan Gormley (Emyvale CC)
3 Philippe Bourdarias (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
4 Damien Crow (Dublin Wheelers)
5 Peter McBride (Errigal CC)
6 Richard McDonald (Cuchulainn CC)

A4 Race

1 Dermot Keelan (Cuchulainn CC)
2 Terry McKenna (Clogher Calley Wheelers)
3 Brendan Kerran (Lakeside Wheelers)
4 Vincent McCarron (SLCC)
5 Sean Flynn (Lucan CRC)
6 Paul Creaghan (Cuchulainn CC)

Women's Race

1 Hayley Priestly (La Lanterne Rouge)
2 Clare Gillispe (Ballymena CC)
3 Judith Russell (Ballymena CC)
4 Ann Mc farland (East Tyrone CC)
5 Kerry Campbell (Newry Wheelers)
6 Freda Brown (Banbridge CC)

Dungarvan GP (A2/A3)

1 Eddie Dunbar (O’Leary’s Stone Kanturk CC)
2 Anthony O’Neill (Usher IRC)
3 J O’Brien (Ballymore CC)
4 Danny Bruton (NRPT)
5 Trevor Robinson (Comeragh CC)
6 Dylan O’Brien
7 R Forrest (Blarney CC)
8 Maurice Lawlor (Aquablue)

A4 Race

1 Jamie Blanchfield (Clonmel CC)
2 Mark Radley (Dungarvan CC)
3 Neil Whelan (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
4 David McCormack (Ronde CC)
5 Stephen Lynch (U/A)
6 John McDonell (Waterford Racing Team)
7 Barry Murphy (Wexford Wheelers)
8 Stephen Redmond (Usher IRC)

Unplaced Woman
Ann McKeown

Tri an Mhí CXIII Middle Distance Triathlon Championships:

British Cycling South East Region Women's Regional Road Race Championships:'s-Regional-Road-Race-Championships#results