Irish youth rider Dion McCarthy has shown he has taken to the racing scene on the Continent with apparent ease with victory in a kermesse race in West Flanders, Belgium at the weekend.
Formerly of Fermoy CC but now riding unattached, McCarthy underlined his promise by putting in a great finishing kick at the end of the 35km race in Westkerke, to take a convincing victory ahead of the best youth riders in the region.
McCarthy has been racing in Europe in recent weeks and finished 12th in a stage-race in Belgium last week.
On Sunday over 40 riders lined out for the Westkerke kermesse, run over 14 laps of a 2.5km circuit.
The race started at a furious pace , with the riders covering the first lap in 3:37, for an average speed of 41kmph.
While the race was marked by some aggressive riding from the best of the local riders – with McCarthy covering some moves – nothing stuck and the finish came down to a bunch sprint.
One of the Belgian riders opened the finishing gallop with around 350 metres remaining. McCarthy showed his racing skill by beating his way onto that rider’s wheel and staying in his slipstream as late as he could, before coming around him with 150 metres to go to take a convincing win.
The youngster had enough time to put his two hands up and show off his national criterium champion’s jersey.
His father, John McCarthy told the Evening Echo the race was very exciting to watch adding Dion’s appearance on the start line caused a bit of a stir.
“Dion was attracting some attention before start time when he started his warm up because we were the only Irish riders there and he was wearing his national champion’s jersey. So a lot of the other riders were approaching him and chatting, asking about the racing in Ireland and saying if he was the champion in Ireland he was a marked man before the start.”
His younger brother Jack was also racing and had nine loops of the same circuit. His race it split to pieces after a few loops when the wind picked up, with Jack finishing in the second bunch for a top 20 result.
The elder McCarthy sibling, U23 international Eoin McCarthy is also racing in Belgium at the moment.
Dion McCarthy’s success comes after a very dominant performance in the UK in June when he took four of the five stages in his U14 category at the North West International Youth Tour.
McCarthy wins in West Flanders