An Post Rás – Irvine solos to victory, Bagdonas retains yellow jersey
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

An Post Rás – Irvine solos to victory, Bagdonas retains yellow jersey

by Shane Stokes at 6:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Race leader punctures in finale of day seven of Irish event

Martyn IrvineShowing day-long determination and an impressive turn of speed in the finale, Martyn Irvine (Giant Kenda) seized the biggest result of his road career today when he triumphed on stage 7 of the An Post Rás. The 25 year old attacked two breakaway companions inside the final ten kilometres, and managed to hold off a hard-chasing main bunch to the line in Kildare.

“Something told me it was my day today,” he said afterwards. “I didn’t get [too] excited, I just used my head and it worked out well.”

Irvine went clear very early on with eight others, namely Shane Archbold (New Zealand), Alex Coutts (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Casey Munro (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), Christian Varley (Isle of Man Microgaming), Michael Fitzgerald (Carlow Dan Morrisey Better Bld), Kohei Uchima (Italy D'Angelo & D'Antenucci), Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint) and Thomas Copeland (Britain Sigma Specialized Team).

Horton dropped back due to a puncture, but the others continued onwards and built a lead which peaked at over four minutes. The peloton ramped up the pace in the second half of the stage, reducing the gap to just one minute 28 seconds going over the first category Clogrennane, and just 56 seconds with ten kilometres to go.

Irvine had made a move with Munro and Uchima 27 kilometres from the line, and the Irishman then went solo inside the final ten kilometres. He said that he had been weighing up how to play things out when the bunch appeared to be getting dangerously close.

“I was thinking out a few scenarios in my head… I knew we had Shane [Archbold, New Zealand] with us. Once we got rid of him, I thought that once they caught him, they might sit up for a while,” he explained. “With about ten kilometres to go, I just committed 100 percent. When I saw five kilometres to go, I just gave it everything.”

He dedicated his win to the late Paul Healion, who took a stage in the race in 2009. “We were good buddies. It is just an inspiration, knowing Paul…he was a good bike rider, and I am just delighted to do what he did,” he said.

Giant Kenda team-mate David McCann had come into the race hoping to contend for the overall victory. He crashed and lost time on Wednesday, thus missing out on the chance to fight for the jersey, but said that Irvine’s win was very important for the team.

“He did a brilliant ride. I think some of his track training came into its own there, because the bunch was coming really quick yet it just couldn’t catch him. He held us off by a few seconds. It was exciting being in the bunch, watching it…I am really pleased for the team.

“It was one of his goals for this year. Martyn is a great guy for setting a goal and ticking the boxes. We knew he had it in him, he is definitely strong enough to win many stages of the Rás.”

Race leader Gediminas Bagdonas had a scare of sorts when he punctured in the finale. Although UCI rules on incidents in the final three kilometres meant that he wouldn’t lose any time, he nevertheless felt that he missed out on a high placing. Had he achieved that, it would most likely have put him back into the points jersey.

“I am feeling good. I didn’t have good luck in the last kilometre…I punctured,” he said. “It was possible to get the win today, but didn’t have the luck.”

He was reluctant to presume the overall victory was his, even if things often remain the same on the final stage. “I’ll see tomorrow,” was all he would say.

How things played out:

Gediminas BagdonasWith the end of the race in sight yet many riders feeling growing fatigue after six days of competition, the seventh stage of the An Post Rás was expected to see some go on the attack, while others to remain in the shelter of the main bunch. And so it proved, with a break of riders going clear soon after the start in Tramore, and being out front for the vast majority of the 161 kilometre stage.

A short-lived move immediately after the drop of the flag saw Thomas Copeland (Sigma Specialized), John Dempsey (Donegal LK Bikes), Michael Fizgerald (Carlow Dan Morrissey), Christian Varley (Isle of Man) and Stephen Halpin (Donegal Sportactive Engraveit) gain ten seconds over the peloton, then be reeled back in. A more effective attack followed almost immediately, when former race leader Shane Archbold (New Zealand) attacked seven kilometres in.

Alex Coutts (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Casey Munro (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), Christian Varley (Isle of Man Microgaming) and Michael Fitzgerald (Carlow Dan Morrisey Better Bld) set off in pursuit, and were joined very soon after by Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Kohei Uchima (Italy D'Angelo & D'Antenucci), Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint) and Thomas Copeland (Britain Sigma Specialized Team).

These caught Archbold after approximately ten kilometres of racing, making it nine breakaway riders 32 seconds clear.

Michael Duffy (Dublin Barnardos) tried to close up, and was joined by Hector Gonzalez (Greece KTM Murcia), Conor Murphy (Dublin Eurocycles) and Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge). They were all reeled in after 13 kilometres. Eight kilometres later the break’s advantage was up to an impressive three minutes and two seconds.

The momentum was disrupted somewhat by the loss of Horton, who punctured out of the move. The rest of the break continued on to the first of two categorised climbs on the stage, namely that of Brown Mountain (km 34.2), and there Munro took the top points ahead of Varley, Archbold and Coutts.

The gap at that point was three minutes 48 seconds to the peloton and one minute 35 over Horton. Twenty kilometres later at Thomastown, it had risen to four minutes and six seconds, and it went to its maximum of four minutes ten seconds at the 70 kilometre point. There, Irvine won the Gowran Post Office prime.

Archbold had started the stage just two minutes ten seconds behind race leader Gediminas Bagdonas, and was clearly race leader on the road at this point. In response, the latter’s An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly team was working hard to ensure that the break didn’t get any further. Aided by former team-members David O’Loughlin (Waterford Comeragh) and Stephen Gallagher (Donegal Sportactive/Engreaveit), they cut the lead down to two minutes 51 seconds by the 82 kilometre point.

The driving continued towards the day’s second and final climb, the first category climb of Clogrennane. The break stayed together and, going over the top 98.8 kilometres after the start, the gap was down to just one minute 28 seconds. The overall contenders were more or less together in the bunch, with the expected battle on the climb not proving as decisive as had been anticipated.

Munro, Copeland and Varley had led the break over the top; Archbold wasn’t prominent at all there, but he showed his determination when he clipped away 35 kilometres from the finish. The gap was down to 54 seconds at that point and the situation looked very worrying for the break.

The New Zealand rider was brought back, but a more successful effort was fired off 27 kilometres from the line when Irvine, Uchima and Munro forged clear. Archbold, Coutts and Copeland sat up, while Varley and Fitzgerald did what they could to chase, but were unable to get back on terms.

Irvine was feeling good and took the Paddy Flanagan prime in Kildangan, a sprint which commemorates the three time Rás winner. That came 15 kilometres from the finish and there the trio had one minute 11 seconds. The gap was down to 56 seconds at Monasterevin, ten kilometres from the line, and very soon afterwards Irvine clipped away and started his solo run to the finish.

The track specialist powered onwards and had a promising 34 second lead with three kilometres to go. He kept the head down and hit the line alone, one arm raised, taking the first An Post Rás stage win of his career and his biggest road race result.

Ralf Matzka (Germany Thuringer Energie) and Bernardo Riccio (Italy D'Angelo & D'Antenucci) sprinted in second and third, leading the peloton home six seconds later. Race leader Gediminas Bagdonas crossed the line over 34 seconds back, but any thoughts that his jersey was threatened were dismissed when it became clear that he had punctured inside the final kilometre.

One consequence though was that he was unable to sprint for a high result on the stage, and he thus lost out on the chance to recapture the Post Office points jersey. Shane Archbold (New Zealand) continues to lead that classification, while Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) retains the lead in the One4All Bikes4Work mountains classification. Aaron Gate (New Zealand National Team) is best under 23 rider, Christopher Coyle (Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) holds an impressive 23 minute lead in the CI Category 2 contest, and Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles) continues as Fitz Cycles best county rider.

Britain Motorpoint has an eleven minute lead in the International Team ranking, while Carlow Dan Morrissey is dominating the County Team award, with an advantage of over an hour.

The 2.2 ranked race concludes tomorrow with an undulating 133 kilometre race from Kildare to Skerries.



An Post Rás (2.2), stage 7, Tramore to Kildare:

1, Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) 161 kilometres in 3 hours 40 mins 39 secs
2, Ralf Matzka (Germany Thuringer Energie) at 6 secs
3, Bernardo Riccio (Italy D'Angelo & D'Antenucci)
4, Myron Simpson (New Zealand National Team)
5, Adam Semple (Australia Drapac Cycling)
6, Javier Benitez Pomares (Greece KTM Murica)
7, Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint)
8, Erwan Brenterch (France AVC Aix en Provence)
9, Steven Lampier (Britain Sigma Specialized Team)
10, Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Motorpoint)
11, Mark Dowling (Meath Dectek)
12, David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team)
13, Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental)
14, Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental)
15, Salvador Guardiola (Greece KTM Murica) all same time


Primes

KOM category 2 at Brown Mountain (km 34.2):

1, Casey Munro (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) 10
2, Christian Varley (Isle of Man Microgaming) 8
3, Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) 6
4, Alex Coutts (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) 4
5, Thomas Copeland (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) 3
6, Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) 1


An Post Prime at Gowran (km 70.2):

1, Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team)


KOM category 1 at Clogrennane (km 98.8):

1, Casey Munro (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) 15
2, Thomas Copeland (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) 12
3, Christian Varley (Isle of Man Microgaming) 10
4, Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) 8
5, Alex Coutts (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) 6
6, Kohei Uchima (Italy D'Angelo & D'Antenucci) 5
7, Michael Fitzgerald (Carlow Dan Morrisey Better Bld) 3

Paddy Flanagan Memorial Prime, Kildangan: Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team

Cuchulainn Crystal County Rider:

1, Mark Dowling (Meath Dectek) 3 hours 40 mins 45 secs
2, Derek Finnegan (Meath Stamullen M. Donnelly)
3, Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles)
4, Neill Delahaye (Meath Dectek)
5, Christopher Coyle (Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) all same time


International Team:

1, Britain Motorpoint, 11 hours 2 mins 15 secs
2, Britain Sigmasport/Specialized
3, Greece KTM Murcia
4, New Zealand
5, France AVC Aix en Provence, all same time


County Team Stage:

1, Carlow Dan Morrissey, 11 hours 3 mins 1 sec
2, Meath Decteck, 11 hours 26 mins 30 secs
3, Meath Stamullen M. Donnelly, 11 hours 26 mins 41 secs
4, Dublin Eurocycles
5, Donegal Sportactive/Engraveit.ie, both same time


General Classification

1, Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly ) 27 hours 40 mins 37 secs
2, Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) at 32 secs
3, Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) at 1 mins 18 secs
4, Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence) at 1 min 16 secs
5, Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint) at 1 min 24 secs
6, Aaron Gate (New Zealand National Team)at 1 min 31 secs
7, Simon Richardson (Britain Sigma Specialized Team)
8, Floris Goesinnen (Australia Drapac Cycling) both same time
9, Wouter Sybrandy (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) at 2 mins 16 secs
10, Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) at 2 mins 21 secs
11, Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda) at 3 mins 14 secs
12, Dean Windsor (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) at 3 mins 47 secs
13, James Sampson (Britain Motorpoint) at 3 mins 55 secs
14, David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) at 9 mins 3 secs
15, William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint) at 9 mins 49 secs


Irish Sports Council Under 23 Overall:

1, Aaron Gate (New Zealand National Team) 27 hours 42 mins 8 secs
2, Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) at 50 secs
3, Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda) at 1 min 43 secs
4, Jakob Steigmiller (Germany Thuringer Energie) at 9 mins 59 secs
5, Menso de Jong (USA Wonderful Pistachios) at 10 mins 58 secs


CI Category 2 Overall:

1, Christopher Coyle (Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) 28 hours 28 mins 22 secs
2, John Dempsey (Donegal LK Bikes) at 23 mins 49 secs
3, Mark Gill (Dublin South Dublin Zilcom) at 46 mins 40 secs
4, Ciaran Clarke (Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) at 1 hour 1 min 40 secs
5, Eoghan Considine (Galway Black Rose) at 1 hour 23 mins 59 secs


Fitz Cycles County Rider Overall:

1, Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles) 27 hours 56 mins 59 secs
2, Anthony Walsh (Dublin UCD) at 3 mins 2 secs
3, Tim Barry (Carlow Dan Morrisey Better Bld) at 3 mins 6 secs
4, Derek Finnegan (Meath Stamullen M. Donnelly) at 6 mins 52 secs
5, Conor Murphy (Dublin Eurocycles) at 8 mins 20 secs


Post Office Points Classification:

1, Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) 56 pts
2, Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly ) 53
3, Erwan Brenterch (France AVC Aix en Provence) 37
4, Myron Simpson (New Zealand National Team) 36
5, Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint) 35


One4All Bikes4Work King of the Mountains:

1, Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) 40
2, Salvador Guardiola (Greece KTM Murica) 35
3, Salvador Guardiola (Greece KTM Murica) 30
4, Christian Varley (Isle of Man Microgaming) 30
5, Casey Munro (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) 25


International Team Overall:

1, Britain Motorpoint, 83 hours 6 mins 34 secs
2, Australia Drapac Professional, at 11 mins 34 secs
3, France AVC Aix en Provence, at 12 mins 53 secs
4, New Zealand, 18 mins 19 secs
5, Ukraine ISD-Lampre, at 21 mins 29 secs


County Team Overall:

1, Carlow Dan Morrissey, 84 hours 39 mins 36 secs
2, Donegal Eurocycles, at 1 hour 50 secs
3, Donegel Sportactive/Engraveit, at 1 hour 35 mins 21 secs
4, Western Edge Medial, 1 hour 38 mins 1 secs
5, Meath Dectek, at 2 hours 15 mins 1 sec

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