All eyes were on Charleville this weekend, as Brian Doyle rode the TT of his life to move to second overall in the A4 event, and then took the win with a very strong ride in the final stage. Philippe Bourdarias used his sprinting prowess to good effect, earning two top ten placings in the A2/3 races.

While the weekend started with a rain-soaked stage 1, with many riders suffering from near hypothermia, the hard men of Orwell pushed on through the cold and the wet and the pain. Philippe Bourdarias was best of those netting himself 5th at the head of the bunch sprint that decided the A2/3 opener. Aidan Collins also finished in the lead group, while Jamie Busher and Liam Rowsome led the bunch over the line for 40th and 42nd respectively.

Rowsome and Busher sprinting for 40th, in the finest of traditions (photo courtesy of

David Halpin and Cormac Bracken also came home on the same time, while Oisín Boland lost nearly 12 minutes after a badly timed puncture, and Peter Gerrard suffered a catastrophic mechanical to finish five places from the last rider, which didn't do his performance justice at all.

In the A4 race Paul Brosnan and Paul Kane, as well as Brian Doyle, finished together in the bunch, just one second behind the stage winner. Their time trial stage took place later that day, as darkness was falling, and it took trojan efforts to recover from the deluge of stage one to be ready for the test. Paul Kane acquitted himself well, only 1'34" down, while Brosnan fared better - 45.26" off in 22nd place.

Doyle had a standout ride, catching his minute man with 0.75km to go, but couldn't overtake due to car traffic on the road. Despite that setback, he conceded only 2.16" to the fastest rider, Patrick O'Connor (Killorglin CC), moving him into second overall, tied with Jerry McCarthy (Manor West Tralee) @3". Doyle said later that it probably played to his advantage in the end, as he wasn't wearing the yellow jersey for the final stage, and therefore was not as a big a target as O'Connor.

The A2/3 TT took place in far better conditions the following morning, though no Orwell riders fared quite so well as Doyle. Fastest finishers were Rowsome and Gerrard, with Rowsome pipping Gerrard by 0.13 of a second, an even tighter gap than last year, when Neal Hudson beat Philippe Bourdarias by 0.15 seconds. This year Bourdarias was further back, with Busher, Bracken, Collins, Boland and Halpin finishing in that order.

This meant that heading into the final stage, Bourdarias was top of the Orwell in 29th @1'13", followed by Collins in 32nd @1'20". With little hope of a stab at the overall, Bourdarias repeated his result from the first stage, storming home to take 5th in the sprint. Due to a mix-up, that placing has unfortunately not been officially reported.

We don't know where Bourdarias finished overall, but with Collins moving up to 22nd, it's safe to safe the former broke into the top twenty, which is a great result for the Franchman. Orwell also won 3rd on team GC, thanks to the sterling efforts of the club members.

Stage 3 was a fraught affair for the A4s, with Doyle trying to get 3" off O'Connor. Both Pauls put themselves on the line for him, riding on the front for the first 30km to deliver Doyle to bottom of the first climb with fresh legs. There Doyle set a blistering pace, red-lining it over the top and forcing a selection. The yellow jersey didn't make the split, and when a pace line formed, Doyle became more confident. More were shelled on the second, steeper climb, and he was keeping a close eye on third-placed McCarthy.

Coming to the line, Doyle finished strongly in the group of roughly 20 to take 13th place. He was surprised to finish alongside the yellow jersey, but the latter was later disqualified for holding on to his team car, which put Doyle in the winner's position, capping three strong performances from the freshman.

His results in the Orwell league indicated he was a strong tester long before Charleville, and his results in the road races show his form and ability has increased massively since the beginning of the season. He took seocnd on the final night of the league to jump to 6th overall, the highest placed league débutant. He was earned himself an upgrade to A3 now, and will focus on building fitness over the winter so that he's ready to compete against the Juniors and other A3s.

Doyle accepting his prize (photo courtesy of

On the leisure front, we had Orwell riders taking part in the Giant's Coast Sportive around the coastline of Antrim, where the weather broke for a rare moment to allow the below picture to be taken by Louise Keane. And Louise Nicholls completed the gruelling 300km of the Six Megaliths audax in the lashing rain on Saturday, and despite being saturated, frozen and completely exhausted at the end of it, she's already eager for a 400!

A rare break in the weather (photo courtesy of Louise Keane)

For many, the season is winding to a close, but don't forget the Hammond Memorial TT this Saturday, followed by St Tiernan's Laragh Classic the following day. The Leinster Champs are also still to come, and if you're able to volunteer as a marshall for that event (on the 22nd), please contact Mags in the forum.

Before that, the focus of cycling will turn to Clare for the imminent Rás na mBan. Orwell members are particpating in many guises - riders, support, staff, sponsors. The Orwell team consists of Orla Hendron, Charlotte MacDonald, Monica Marconi, Rachael Kaye-Mellor and Lucy Soden. It's managed by Eddie Lynch, with Dick O'Brien as mechanic.

Club president Dave Tansey is sponsoring the Joe Daly Cycles team, which is a composite team featuring Lauren Creamer, Maria Mulvany, Karen Robinson, Noreen O'Toole and Sarah Dennedy. Their manager is Brian McArdle, and mechanic is David Hendron.

Special mentions to Leinster Hill Climb Champ Isabel Cogan, riding for Cycling Leinster, and ex-Orwell and National League winner Anne Dalton, competing with the national squad. Declan Quigley is handling press, and will be commentating on the Eurosport programme to be aired on October 8th.

Best of luck to them all!