Yesterday’s Ras stage was a monster, covering 181km through the Kerry Mountains from Charleville to Cahirciveen, including six category three climbs followed by two category two climbs and then the vertical wall that was the category one climb of Coonanaspic before dropping down into the picturesque coastal town of Cahirciveen.
The stage got off to a nervous start with the anticipation for today’s climbs ahead and at the nine mile mark, five riders had broken clear – Huw Pritchard (Wales Stena Line), Branko Filip (Slovenia Perutnina), Kevin Dawson (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) , Daniel Lynch (Cork Kanturk Credit Union) and John O’Shea (Tipperary Dan Morrissey). These five were quickly joined by Kimmo Kananen (Scandanavia Bianchi Nordic), Chris Kuhl (USA CRCA/Sakonnet) and Julian Winn (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) and then shortly before the first climb by David McCann (Ireland Thornton’s Recycling) and Graham Briggs (Great Britain U23).
The 10-man break then stayed like that with the time gap building up to 4 minutes on the main field where yellow jersey, Valter Bonca (Slovenia Perutnina) remained despite both the Slovenia and Kazahkstan teams working hard to limit the loss. On the road, Kananen was now the effective yellow jersey but with the lead group not all contributing, including Kananen, the gap on the long climb of Glensharoon dropped to 2 minutes with Kuhl dropping back into the field. After Killorglin, with the gap still dropping Winn and Pritchard made a valiant attempt to continue the break after the other seven riders had been absorbed by the pack but by the summit of Mount Foley, the riders were all back together ending a 60 mile break.
With the two category two climbs ahead the bunch split into bits with Irish riders taking up the running at the front. First, Eugene Moriarty (Ireland Thornton’s Recycling) and Tim Barry (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) opened up a 30 second lead to be joined by David O’Loughlin (Ireland Thorton’s Recycling) with others attempting but failing to reach across. By the time the second category climb of Raheen was under the rider’s wheels the peleton was strung out with the pace spitting riders out the back, including the King of the Mountains leader, Jens Schiwedler.
The leaders were reeled in again to form a lead group of 15 including McCann and O’Loughlin (Ireland Thornton’s Recycling), Evan Oliphant (Great Britain Under 23), Anthony Malarczyk (Wales Stena Line), Petter Renang and Tobias Lergard (Scandinavia Bianchi Nordic), yellow jersey Valter Bonca and Massimo Demarin (Slovenia Perutnina), Valentin Iglinsky (Kazahkstan), Stefan Cohnen (Germany ComNet Senges), John Tanner and green jersey Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn), Brian Ahern (Dublin Orwell) and Tuesday’s winner, Dermot Nally (Galway).
Earlier in the week, Bonca had admitted he was looking forward to the hills and it was on the stupendously steep slope of Coonanaspic that he made his move along with O’Loughlin, McCann and Petter Renang with all four breaking free ahead of the summit. Hurtling down the other side into the finish in Cahirciveen it looked like teammates O’Loughlin and McCann were racing each other but it was McCann who broke free opening a 23 sec gap with Bonca, Renang and O’Loughlin dropping back in to the chase group led by Nally.
At the line, McCann had held a 26-second lead over Nally, Iglinsky, O’Loughlin, Elliott, Bonca, Oilphant, Lynch, Lergard, Tanner and Renang. Bonca and Renang remain first and second overall but the three Team Ireland riders of O’Loughlin, McCann and Lynch move into the top 5.
Tobias Lergard is back in the polka dot jersey and Cohnen gets a white jersey for U23 top rider to add to his blue stage winner’s jersey.
Thursday is a shorter stage of 152Km from Cahirciveen to Millstreet with the two category one climbs of Coomakista and Inchee and a cat three climb.
1. David McCann (Ireland Thorton’s Recycling) 4h27’16”
2. Dermot Nally (Galway) +26″
3. Valentin Iglinsky (Kazakhstan) s/t
4. David O’Loughlin (Ireland Thorton’s Recycling) s/t
5. Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) s/t
1. Valter Bonca (Slovenia Perutnina) 15h1′ 34″
2. Petter Renang (Scandinavia Bianchi Nordic) +06″
3. David O’Loughlin (Ireland Thornton’s Recycling) +22″
4. David McCann (Ireland Thornton’s Recycling) +23″
5. Denis Lynch (Ireland Thornton’s Recycling) +46″
6. Dermot Nally (Galway) +47″
7. Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) +49″v
8. Mark Lovatt (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) +1’37”
9. Anthony Malarczyk (Wales Stena Line) +1’47”
10. Tobias Lergard (Scandinavia Bianchi Nordic) +2′
1. David McCann (Ireland Thornton’s Recycling), 40
2. Dermot Nally (Galway), 38
3. Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn), 37
1. Tobias Lergard (Scandinavia Bianchi Nordic), 43
2. Branko Filip (Slovenia Perutnina) 33
3. Petter Renang (Scandinavia Bianchi Nordic), 28