Great Dane Makes History For Fermanagh
FBD Insurance RÁS on Sunday 23rd May 2010
Dane Dunlop, a 20 year university student, this week became the first ever Fermanagh and Lakeland Cycle Club cyclist to take part in the Union Cycle International 2.2 world ranking cycling event namely the FBD Insurance Rás.
Dane joined the progressive Enniskillen based Lakeland Cycle Club in 2005 as a 15 year schoolboy and event then showed promise to the more seasoned and mentors within the club. Since joining the club back then, Dane has won the Mairead Clarke Trophy as the Most promising Under 18 cyclist on at least two occasions.
Over the 2006 to 2008 season, Dane showed his sprinting and hill-climbing skills. It was in the 2008 season, that the timely development of Dane's training that dividends paid off.
In July of that same year, he was selected as a Junior team member of the Ireland National Junior team and alter in August, took a bronze medal in the Senior All Ireland Hill-climb in the infamous Mamore Gap in North Donegal. Winner of the Hill-climb was Ronan McLaughlin of the AN Post/Sean Kelly/Grant Thornton professional team.
Dane's good form continued in 2009 and now as a senior cyclist, it was thought that he could retain his high placings like he did in 2008.
Dane again was selected for the Ireland national squad but now was onto the Ireland Under 23 Development squad and has retained his place in the squad for 2010.
His selection for the 2009 season included a second overall in the international Rás Connaught and also a second place on one of the stages, and also was selected for the Ireland Under 23 team for the Suir three day stage race.
At club level, Dane was a stage winner and also took the Leaders Yellow Jersey in the Rás Dhun na nGall and was on the winning All Ireland Hill Climb Championship team namely the Lakeland Cycle Club along with team members Robbie Bryson and Ray Dunlop.
2010 season for Dane was mixed but has peaked at the right time in recent weeks.
His major boast was his third place in the time trial of the third stage of the Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council Tour of Ulster. Professional rider Stephen Burke (Motorpoint - Marshalls Pasta) took the stage, but more riders were beaten by the young Dane Dunlop.
One notable rider that lost out to Dane time trial speed was Malcolm Elliott (Motorpoint - Marshalls Pasta). Elliott has ridden the Tour de France, Tour of Spain, Tour of Britain as a professional and still competes as a professional.
His season continued with his selection for the Ireland Under 23 Development team for the inclusion in the UCI 2.2 rank event namely the FBD Insurance RÁS. It should be noted that due to his selection, he now becomes the first ever Fermanagh born and first Lakeland Cycle Club member to compete in the event around the Ireland of Ireland.
On speaking to Dane on the RÁS in Dundalk on Sunday 23rd May, Lakeland Cycle Club founder, Pat Clarke, questioned Dane for his future plans for the remainder of the 2010 season. Dane looks forward to his inclusion In the Ireland squad for the Rás Connaught, Ballinrobe two day stage race, Suir Valley three day event and to compete in all the Ireland National championships which include the elite, Under 23 events and also the Hill Climb championship in August.