Today’s stage took the Ras 152km from Oranmore to Charleville across rolling Irish country lanes and open dual carriageway with three category three climbs inside that space of 15 miles in the middle. From the off, Dublin Usher Rider, Paul Helion, led off a brake of seven riders including Kazahkstan rider Valeriy Dmitriev, Wales Stena Line rider Jamie Norfolk, Mikael Segarsall from Scandanavia Bianchi Nordic, Slovenia’s Massimo Demarin, Jens Schiwedler from Germany’s Stevens Von Hact team and Kevin Dawson from Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn.
By mile six, they were joined by Ireland’s David McCann and Cork rider Daniel Lynch.
The group of nine riders stayed up the road ahead of the field with most of the riders working well to build up a one minute thirty gap on the main field. Segarsall took the first cat 3 king of the mountains climb, Lynch the second by the third Jens Schiwedler opened up a 40-second gap to make sure he got the third and in doing so the King of the Mountains jersey.
With the hills out of the way it was into the twisting country lanes of Cork. Perfect country for the lead group to get out of sight of the pack but with a few riders not working, the group sat up and by the 50-mile mark the pack were just 5 seconds behind. For whatever reason, they stalled and the nine man lead group were off back up the road build their lead back up to a minute.
And then the riders hit the famously bad Irish roads, except that this time there wasn’t even a road at all. A mile of thankfully soft dirt and gravel later and miraculously there had been only one puncture, yesterday’s stage winner Stefan Cohnen.
With the offroad adventures over, a further 9 man group split off the front of the main bunch including Tommy Evans and Dennis Lynch from Team Ireland, Ivan Andreev from Kazahkstan, Richard Eastham from NE England Bannatyne, Malcolm Elliott from Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn and three Kerry riders, Sean Lacey, Ritchie Cahill and Vincent Gleeson.
The 18-man lead group, now with a 1 minute thirteen lead on the main group, led it’s way all the way in to the finish with Irishman Dermot Nally sprinting across the line some two seconds clear of the rest. Behind him a sprint for second resulting in Tour of Spain winner Malcolm Elliott just getting pipped at the line by Kazahkstan’s Valeriy Dmitryev. Elliott later went back to pick up his bike computer which bounced off in a pothole in the sprint, the second time he’s lost it, and found it again, on the Ras.
With the yellow jersey coming in in the main group one minute and 19 seconds back, the top five overall positions remain the same as yesterday but the rest have narrowed the gap with 15 riders inside a minute. Malcom Elliott from Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn gains a green jersey and his team move up a place to second overall behind Team Ireland.
1. Nally, Dermot (Galway) 3h37’05”
2. Dmitryev, Valeriy (Kazahkstan) +02″
3. Elliott, Malcom (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) s/t
4. Kananen, Kimmo (Scandanavia Bianchi Nordic) s/t
5. McCann, David (Ireland Thorntons Recycling) s/t
1. Bonca, Valter (Slovenia Perutnina) 10h33’52”
2. Renang, Petter (Scandinavia Bianchi Nordic) +06″
3. Lovatt, Mark (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) +18″
4. O’Loughlin, David (Ireland Thorntons Recycling) +22″
5. Malarczyk, Anthony (Wales Stena Line) +28″
Wednesday’s stage is a long 181km from Charleville to Cahirciveen with six category 3 climbs, 2 category 2 and a category 1 at the 100 mile mark.