Roger Aiken video: Strong Wicklow mountains ride in An Post Rás underlines Irish amateur’s class
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Roger Aiken video: Strong Wicklow mountains ride in An Post Rás underlines Irish amateur’s class

by Shane Stokes at 4:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
Despite strong form, no national championship plans

Roger aikenAlthough he has been up against full time professional and international riders in this year’s An Post Rás, Irish amateur Roger Aiken has shown himself to be every bit as strong as them over the past seven days.

The Louth Prague Charter rider has performed superbly since the race began, holding a top ten position for much of the race and yesterday going agonizingly close to a stage win after he and two others held of a hard-chasing peloton into Naas.

Aiken attacked prior to the day’s two first category climbs, Drumgoff and Wicklow Gap, riding away from the other general classification contenders and joining up with the lone leader Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic AC Sparta Praha) after the summit of the latter.

The time gained made him race leader on the road, although yellow jersey Marcin Bialoblocki and his UK Youth team were able to reduce the advantage held by Aiken, Okrouhlicky and Jakub Kratochvila (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) before the finish.

Okrouhlicky took the three man sprint into Naas, with Aiken very close by in second. The time gained moved him from ninth to eighth overall, 51 seconds off yellow, and cancelled out what he lost one day earlier when he crashed close to the finish in Carlow.

“I just wanted to get up the road. I though someone would maybe come up, there were a lot of strong guys there. I wasn’t feeling super. I was sort of banking on a nice wee group coming up to me, but it didn’t really happen. We were left out there a long time,” said Aiken in the video interview below.

Being a minute and a half clear of Bialoblocki’s group at one point, the advantage more than cancelled out the one minute fourteen second deficit Aiken had in terms of the yellow jersey. However he admitted that he didn’t believe it would be possible to hang on to the end due to the disparity in numbers in his group versus those chasing them.

“I knew it would come back [down] because I heard it was a big group behind. I was just trying to maybe get a bit of time to move myself up in GC, as I lost a bit of time yesterday,” he said.

Aiken competed abroad several seasons ago with the Sean Kelly team but has been based back in Ireland for the past few years. Fitting in his training around a full time job, the multiple national cyclo cross champion dips in and out of the racing calendar when he gets the urge to compete.

The An Post Rás is just his third event of the year, yet he has been one of the most aggressive riders all week and has been on the attack many times.

However, despite the fact that he’s proven that he’s as good as the full time riders in the race, he is clear that he doesn’t think about returning to the continent for another shot. “I am just happy going what I am doing. You need to be good, you need to have something special to try to make it abroad,” he explained, perhaps being over-modest about his own physical ability. “I am just happy racing at home, getting to do the Rás. It gives me my fix for cycle racing.”

Strong form notwithstanding, Aiken’s laid back approach is apparent when he confirms that he has no interest in competing in the national championships next month.

“No national champs for me. I am just not that fussed on them,” he said. “I think I am doing a triathlon the day before, or the day of them…I think it is the day before…”


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