An Post Rás: Okrouhlicky edges out Aiken for stage seven win, Bialoblocki retains yellow
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

An Post Rás: Okrouhlicky edges out Aiken for stage seven win, Bialoblocki retains yellow

by Shane Stokes at 6:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Video
 
Final big mountain stage less decisive than anticipated

Thomas OkrouhlickyEnding the stage in a furious three-man sprint to the line, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic AC Sparta Praha) just edged out Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter Team) into Naas, taking the win by half a bike length. Jakub Kratochvila (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) was third in the same time, with the trio holding off hard-chasing riders Michael Northey (Britain Node4 Giordana Racing) and Ben Greenwood (Scotland National Team), who were 22 seconds behind.

They in turn staved off the chase of a bigger group, which rolled in one second further back and which contained race leader Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain UK Youth Pro Cycling) plus the other main challengers.

Connor McConvey (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku) and Rasmus Guldhammer (Denmark Blue Water) did what they could to try to break Bialoblocki’s grip over the race but were unable to do so, with the two riders finishing behind him in the sprint to the line.

The three remain deadlocked on time heading into tomorrow’s final stage, but unless either can gain a second or more tomorrow, the final overall victory will go to the Polish rider.

“There were a few climbs that were quite tough, but nothing really serious,” he said after the stage, appearing to be more relaxed than in the preceding days. “My team-mates did a great job for me. They worked all day at the front with a few other guys and I am very happy.”

Aiken lost time yesterday when he crashed just outside the three kilometre to go point. He remained ninth overall despite that delay, but was fired up to to do something today. He saw opportunity when a six man break – which had gone clear a little more than thirty kilometres after the stage start – became closer in the run-up to the first category Drumgoff climb.

Aiken caught and passed several of those riders and raced up the slopes trying to bridge across to Kenny de Ketele (Belgium national team) and Okroulicky, who had attacked out of that group over ten kilometres earlier.

He caught and left De Ketele after the summit, and together with Kratochvila he chased up and over the Wicklow gap, with the duo finally joining up with the leader on the descent off the climb.

Although he became race leader on the road at that point, he said that he knew the yellow jersey group would draw closer beofre the finish. The stage win was his main goal and he was a little frustrated to miss out.

“It’s disappointing not to get the win. I was riding hard at the end, going for time, to try move myself up in the GC,” he said. “Maybe I should have conserved my legs to try take the stage, but I had a go anyway.

“Today was hard because it’s the end of the week and everybody’s tired. The legs aren’t as fresh but it’s the second day in a row our team have taken the county jersey so we have to be pleased with that.”

Okroulicky was delighted with his stage win, not least because he was out front for a long time and was caught by the other two after a hard chase up Wicklow Gap.

The 2.2 ranked race concludes tomorrow with a lumpy race from Naas to Skerries. It features five category three climbs but it remains to be seen if McConvey or Guldhammer can gain the necessary time over the race leader. Bialoblocki has resisted their efforts thus far, and is just 144.6 kilometres away from the biggest victory in his career thus far.



How it played out:


The penultimate day of the An Post Rás offered plenty to those looking to try to shake up the general classification, with eight categorised climbs rearing up along the 141.2 kilometre distance between Carlow and Naas. These were the category two Ballythomas Hill (km 41.8), the category three set of Mondlea (km 44.9), Annagh Gap (km 47.4) and Cronebeg (km 73.3), and the second category Garrymore (km 81.4).

After that the riders were set to scale the day’s most difficult climbs, the feared first category ascent of Drumgoff (km 92.5), which took them past the memorial stone to Ireland’s first Maillot Jaune, Shay Elliott, the identically-ranked Wicklow Gap climb (km 107.4) and, finally, the short third category Slieve Cruagh (km 122.3), which was situated 19 kilometres from the line.

A total of 131 riders started the race, with the peloton missing Wouter Sybrandy (Britain Team IG Sigma Sport) and Michael Lucey (Tipperary Carrick Iverk Prod.).

Moving off in sunny weathers and temperatures of 17 degrees, the peloton was quickly enlivened by a spate of attacks inside the first 40 minutes.

Nothing lasted very long, but the elastic finally snapped approximately thirty kilometres into the stage when Kenny de Ketele (Belgium national team), Coulton Hartrich (USA Astellas Oncology), Tomas Okroulicky (Czech Republic Sparta Praha) and Benjamin Edmuller (Austria Gebruder Weiss) went clear. They were joined soon afterwards by Kristofer Dahl (Canada) and yesterday’s stage winner Rico Rogers (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku), and had a minute’s lead 38 kilometres after the start.

That advantage increased to one minute 18 seconds on the first climb, where Okrouhlicky beat De Ketele and Edmuller to the summit. Setting an average speed of 42 kilometres in the first hour, they continued to build the lead slightly by the top of the category three Mondlea ascent (km 44.9), where Okrouhlicky beat Edmuller and Dahl. The gap there was one minute 26 seconds.

On the next climb, the category three Annagh Gap (km 47.4), Okrouhlicky was once again best, peaking ahead of Edmuller and De Ketele (Belgium National Team). By Arklow, 57.3 kilometres into the stage, the peloton was one minute and 40 seconds back, but from then it began to gradually whittle down the break’s advantage.

Okrouhlicky and De Ketele were climbing strongly and after netting first and second on the category three Cronebeg (Km 73.3), they pushed ahead on the next climb, Garrymore (km 80). There, De Ketele was first to the summit.

The bunch was getting closer and Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter) and Adam Homolka (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) jumped from that group and bridged. They joined up with Dahl and Hartrich in chasing the two leaders, but the latter lost his place in the group when he punctured.

Racing onto the lower slopes of the first category Drumgoff, Aiken left that chase group and tried to bridge alone. He continued chasing up the climb while behind, Bialoblocki was responding to attacks from several of his rivals.

Okrouhlicky led over the summit (km 92.5), with De Ketele seconds and Aiken third. Mountains leader Hunal was next best, adding to his total, while the main GC riders Connor McConvey (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku), Rasmus Guldhammer (Denmark Blue Water) and Bialoblocki competed the top seven over the prime line.

De Ketele lost contact with Okrouhlicky and was picked up by Aiken and Jakub Kratochvila (Austria Arbo Gebruder Weiss). The Irishman pushed ahead on the Wicklow Gap climb and was 25 seconds back appoximately halfway up, five ahead of Kratochvila.

De Ketele was dropped but was picked up by Mark Dowling (Ireland Polygon Sweet Nice) and
Richard Handley (Britain Rapha Condor JLT), who then left him behind. Aiken continued to chase all the way up the climb, going over the top eleven seconds behind Okrouhlicky and seven ahead of Kratochvila.

Handley and Dowling were 46 seconds back, while the yellow jersey group was at one minute 25 seconds. Given that Aiken had started the day one minute 14 seconds back, it meant that he had become race leader on the road.

He and Kratochvila joined up on the descent and eventually bridged to the leader 26 kilomtres from the line; at that point, Bialoblocki was a minute and ten seconds back, thus reducing the danger.

That group caught the chasers prior to the day’s final climb, the third category Slieve Corragh (km 122.3). Simon Yates (Great Britain National Team) was first of the group there, netting fourth. The gap continued to drop to thirty seconds, but a drop in pace gave Ben Greenwood (Scotland) and Michael Northey (Britain Node4 Giordana) a chance to race clear.

Behind, Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly) jumped clear and tried to get up to this duo, but he was unable to do so. His effort was followed by one by Joseph Perrett (Britain IG Sigma Sport), who had tried a late attack in yesterday’s finale as well.

With five kilometres to go the three leaders were trailed by Greenwood and Northey, who were 31 seconds back. Perrett was at 40 seconds, while the jersey group was at 48 and closing in on the latter.

However it had left things too late and the leading trio raced into Naas, where Okrouhlicky won in a tight sprint against Aiken and Kratochvila.

Northey and Greenwood held on to take fourth and fifth, one second ahead of Owain Doull (Great Britain National Team), who led in the main bunch. Bialoblocki was towards the front in the sprint, netting ninth on the stage and – importantly – finishing ahead of McConvey (11th) and Guldhammer (17th).

It meant that he bolstered the advantage he holds over them on countback, thus ensuring that they will need to actually gain time tomorrow in order to overtake him. Given that he has held the race lead since Tuesday evening, he will be feeling increasingly confident about retaining his jersey until the end of the race.


An Post Rás (2.2)

Stage 7, Carlow to Naas:


1, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 141 kilometres in 3 hours 26 mins 14 secs
2, Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter Team)
3, Jakub Kratochvila (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss)
4, Michael Northey (Britain Node4 Giordana Racing) at 22 secs
5, Ben Greenwood (Scotland National Team) same time
6, Owain Doull (Great Britain National Team) at 23 secs
7, Nicholas Vereecken (Belgium An Post Chain Reaction)
8, Jasper De Buyst (Belgium National Team)
9, Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Uk Youth Pro Cycling)
10, Daniel Foder (Denmark Blue Water Cycling)
11, Connor McConvey (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku)
12, Evan Oliphant (Scotland National Team)
13, Steve Lampier (Britain Node4 Giordana Racing)
14, Daniel Bichlmann (Germany Bike Aid - Schwalbe)
15, Simon Yates (Great Britain National Team) all same time


Category two climb at Ballythomas Hill (km 41.8),

1, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 10
2, Kenny De Ketele (Belgium National Team) 8
3, Benjamin Edmuller (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) 6
4, Coulton Hartrich (Usa Astellas Oncology) 4
5, Kristofer Dahl (Canada National Team) 3
6, Rico Rogers (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku) 1

Category three climb at Mondlea (km 44.9):

1, Tomas Okrouhlicky( Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 5
2, Benjamin Edmuller (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) 4
3, Kristofer Dahl (Canada National Team) 3
4, Kenny De Ketele (Belgium National Team) 2

Category three climb at Annagh Gap (km 47.4):

1, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 5
2, Benjamin Edmuller (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) 4
3, Kenny De Ketele (Belgium National Team) 3
4, Kristofer Dahl (Canada National Team) 2

Category 3 Climb At Cronebeg (Km 73.3):

1, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 5
2, Kenny De Ketele (Belgium National Team) 4
3, Benjamin Edmuller (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) 3
4, Kristofer Dahl (Canada National Team) 2

Category 2 climb of Garrymore (km 81.4):

1, Kenny De Ketele (Belgium National Team) 10
2, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 8
3, Kristofer Dahl (Canada National Team) 6
4, Coulton Hartrich (Usa Astellas Oncology) 4
5, Benjamin Edmuller (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) 3
6, Rico Rogers (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku) 1

Category 1 Climb At Drumgoff (km 92.5):

1, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 15
2, Kenny De Ketele (Belgium National Team) 12
3, Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter Team) 10
4, Martin Hunal (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 8
5, Connor Mcconvey (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku) 6
6, Rasmus Guldhammer (Denmark Blue Water Cycling) 5
7, Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Uk Youth Pro Cycling) 3

Category 1 Climb At Wicklow Gap (km 107.4):

1, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 15
2, Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter Team) 12
3, Jakub Kratochvila (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) 10
4, Richard Handley (Britain Rapha Condor Jlt) 8
5, Mark Dowling (Ireland Polygon Sweet Nice) 6
6, Martin Hunal (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 5
7, Simon Yates (Great Britain National Team) 3

Category 3 Climb Of Slieve Corragh (km 122.3):

1, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 5
2, Jakub Kratochvila (Austria Arbo Gebrder Weiss) 4
3, Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter Team) 3
4, Simon Yates (Great Britain National Team) 2

Conty:

1, Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter Team) 3 hours 26 mins 14 secs
2, Thomas Martin (Dublin West Eurocycles) at 23 secs
3, Matt Slattery (Tipperary Visit Nenagh.Ie Dmg) same time

International team:

1, Scotland national team, 10 hours 19 mins 50 secs
2, Great Britain national team, 10 hours 19 mins 51 secs
3, Britain Rapha Condor JLT, same time
4, Azerbaijan Synergy Baku, 10 hours 24 mins 30 secs
5, Czech Republic Sparta Praha, 10 hours 24 mins 30 secs

County team:

1, Cork Aquablue, 10 hours 35 mins 15 secs
2, Louth Prague Charter team, 10 hours 44 mins 38 secs
3, Dublin West Eurocycles, 10 hours 45 mins 7 secs
4, Dublin South, 10 hours 54 mins 44 secs
5, Tipperary Carrick Iverk Produce, 10 hours 54 mins 49 secs


Overall classification after seven stages:

1, Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Uk Youth Pro Cycling) 23 hours 52 mins 27 secs
2, Connor McConvey (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku)
3, Rasmus Guldhammer (Denmark Blue Water Cycling) both same time
4, Richard Handley (Britain Rapha Condor JLT) at 24 secs
5, Remi Pelletier-Roy (Canada National Team) same time
6, Daniel Foder (Denmark Blue Water Cycling) at 46 secs
7, Martin Hunal (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) at 48 secs
8, Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter Team) at 51 secs
9, Simon Yates (Great Britain National Team) at 52 secs
10, Jasper De Buyst (Belgium National team) at 1 min 39 secs
11, Steve Lampier (Britain Node4 Giordana Racing) at 1 min 45 secs
12, Ben Greenwood (Scotland National Team) at 1 min 47 secs
13, Owain Doull (Great Britain National Team) at 2 mins 25 secs
14, Bouke Kuiper (Holland Koga Cycling Team) at 2 mins 31 secs
15, Garrett Mcleod (Canada National Team) at 2 mins 43 secs

Post office sprints:

1, Owain Doull (Great Britain National Team) 62 points
2, Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Uk Youth Pro Cycling) 59
3, Nicholas Vereecken (Belgium An Post Chain Reaction) 50
4, Rico Rogers (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku) 45
5, Rasmus Guldhammer (Denmark Blue Water Cycling) 44

One4all Bikes4work King of the Mountains:

1, Martin Hunal (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 82
2, Tomas Okrouhlicky (Czech Republic Ac Sparta Praha) 68
3, Richard Handley (Britain Rapha Condor Jlt) 62
4, Michael Cuming (Britain Rapha Condor Jlt) 60
5, Kenny De Ketele (Belgium National Team) 45

Irish Sports Council Under 23:

1, Simon Yates (Great Britain National Team) 23 hours 53 mins 19 secs
2, Jasper De Buyst (Belgium National Team) at 47 secs
3, Owain Doull (Great Britain National Team) at 1 min 33 secs
4, Joseph Perrett (Britain Team Ig - Sigma Sport) at 1 min 51 secs
5, Alistair Slater (Great Britain National Team) at 1 min 54 secs

Massi Ireland County Rider:

1, Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter Team) 23 hours 53 mins 18 secs
2, Damien Shaw (Cork Aquablue) at 3 mins 44 secs
3, Thomas Martin (Dublin West Eurocycles) at 4 mins 56 secs
4, Aaron O'donoghue (Dublin South) at 16 mins 41 secs
5, Chris Reilly (Meath Stamullen M.Donnelly) at 17 mins 4 secs

CI Category 2:

1, John Dempsey (Tipperary Carrick Iverk Prod.) 24 ohurs 32 mins 5 secs
2, Ciaran Clarke (Mayo Castlebar Fedaia Bikes) at 4 mins 6 secs
3, Nigel Forde (Galway City Nigel's Cycles) at 15 mins 59 secs
4, Ultan Coyle (Louth Prague Charter Team) at 17 mins 49 secs
5, Mehall Fitzgerald (Tipperary Visit Nenagh.Ie Dmg) at 20 mins 27 secs

International team:

1, Great Britain national team, 71 hours 42 mins 23 secs
2, Britain Rapha Condor JLT, at 2 mins 23 secs
3, Scotland national team, at 2 mins 24 secs
4, Azerbaijan Synergy Baku, at 2 mins 26 secs
5, Denmark Blue Water, at 5 mins 11 secs

County team:

1, Cork Aquablue, 72 hours 18 mins 10 secs
2, Louth Prague Charter, at 20 mins 17 secs
3, Dublin West Eurocycles, at 34 mins 8 secs
4, Tipperary Carrick Iverk Produce, at 56 mins 22 secs
5, Meath Dunboyne DID, at 1 hour 15 misn 23 secs

 

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