Ryan Mullen stormed to victory at the National Road Race championships in Multyfarnham yesterday, the 19-year-old An Post Chain Reaction rider going clear of a 10-man escape group with 35km to go in the 171km race.
The leading group built up a lead of more than two minutes on the rest of the field, leaving pre-race favourites Sam Bennett (NetApp Endura) and Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp) stranded in the peloton behind.
Martin tried to bridge across to the front group with local man and last year’s runner-up Damien Shaw of Aquablue with four of the 19km laps remaining, but the duo only managed to catch the tail end of the break before the line.
Up ahead, Mullen had gone solo with a lap and a half to go and, showing the raw power that saw him set a faster time than the elite riders to win the U-23 time trial championships on Thursday, the teenager stormed away to win by one minute and 14 seconds.
“I don’t quite know how that’s happened,” beamed a delighted Mullen. “I didn’t expect today’s result whatsoever. I didn’t put any pressure on myself coming into the road race after the time trial on Thursday.”I haven’t done a ride of four hours in about three weeks, so to even finish the race I would have been pretty happy, but to win it is unbelievable.”Mullen heads to Majorca on Wednesday with the Irish track team to prepare for the U-23 European Track Championships in Portugal at the end of the July.