FBD Milk Rás opening day
The first day of Ireland's FBD Milk Rás kicked off with a 132km stage from Dublin to Trim. 143 riders set out on a lovely sunny day with a break of 9 straight off from the end of the neutralized start. Local interest fell on the shoulders of Dennis Lynch and Phillip Cassidy with Slovenian rider Demarin, German riders Sengewald and Schiwedler and a strong showing from the Scandanavian Bianchi team with two riders in the break - Lergard and Bak.
A hectic hour of racing ensued with the race covering 28 miles in the first hour but it took the climb out from the crossing of the River Boyne at around the 50-mile mark before the pack reeled them back in from their once two-minute lead. Almost immediately, a second break took off with five riders: Team Ireland's David O'Loughlin, Slovenia Perutnina rider Valter Bonca, Wales Stena Line rider Anthony Malarczyzk, Bianchi Nordic's Petter Renang and Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn's Mark Lovatt. The five slipped away quite easily from the bunch opening up a two minute thirty lead which they held to the end.
At five km to go, Renang opened up a 75m lead on the other four riders with O'Loughlin and Lovatt attempting to bridge the gap closely watched by Bonca, with Malarcyzk unable to answer. Bonca then passed the two riders at 3km and quickly closed on Renang to pass him 500m before the finish. Lovatt finished third with O'Loughlin.
The main bunch arrived in Trim two minutes and six seconds down.
Times for the top five finishers
1. Bonca, Valter (Slovenia Perutina) - 3h01'18"
2. Renang, Petter (Scandanavia Bianchi Nordic) +02"
3. Lovatt, Mark (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) +12"
4. O'Loughlin, David (Ireland Thorntons Recycling) +12"
5. Malarczyk, Anthony (Wales Stena Line) +18"
Tobias Lergard (Scandanavia Bianchi Nordic) leads the Mountains Competition with 14 points from Filip Branko (Slovenia Perutnina) with 12.
Monday's stage is a relatively flat 106 miles from Trim to Orinmore, Gallway. We'll keep you posted direct from the scene.