FBD Milk Ras Stage 5 - Cahirciveen to Milstreet
At nearly 43 years old, the legend that is Malcolm Elliott gets quietly annoyed with being reminded of his age each day at the start of every stage. The announcer has even been asked to just describe him as 'evergreen', by Elliott himself.
On Thursday's stage the Yorkshireman added another green jersey and out sprinted the pack to claim victory on the 152km 5th stage of the FBD Milk Ras from Cahirciveen to Milstreet.
The stage began under grey clouds as the peleton headed off to the start of the long category one climb of Coomakista skirting the coastline of the west of the Ring of Kerry. Before the climb, Milk Ras veteran Philip Cassidy (Meath Lee Strand), who's son Mark is also in the Ras, broke, followed by Team Ireland's David O'Loughlin and Julian Winn (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn). Winn and O'Loughlin powered up the climb leaving Cassidy to be absorbed back into the the peleton. Back down the road, the yellow jersey's Solvenia Perutnina team were all riding hard. First, O'Loughlin and then Winn got reeled in and by the village of Sneem, 30 miles into the stage, the peleton were all back together.
Tobias Lergard and Kimmo Kananen, both of Scandanavia Bianchi Nordic then shot off the front some 4 miles later whilst behind the Slovenian team continued their push to protect Bonca in yellow. Further back in the pack it was chaos with two minor crashes on the second climb to Inchee in quick succession. Lergard took the points, adding to his King of the Mountains lead and also the following climb at County Bounds and in doing so briefly became the virtual yellow jersey holder on the road before being later brought back in. Behind him the peleton stretched out under the pressure from the Slovenian and Kazahkstan teams and on the crest of County Bounds a crash brought down a group of riders including David O'Loughlin, Paul Griffin and Malcolm Elliott.
Over the top and the fast, wide descent on good roads was a welcome change to proceedings with first Massimo Demarin (Slovenia Perutnina) and then Kevin Dawson (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) adding to a break. The pair were joined by Dennis Lynch (Ireland Thorntons Recycling) but by the 10km to go sign, Dawson's time trial skills had opened a lead that would last till 2km to go. The bunch were then all back together as the stage entered Milstreet. With 200m to go on the uphill finish, Elliott pulled ahead of Brian Ahern (Dublin Orwell) and Paul Griffin (Kerry) to win in a straight drag to show he's still got it.
Friday is a 151km stage to Carrick on Suir with a dramatic finish on the summit of the fearfully steep category one climb of Seskin Hill.
With the race leaders all finishing in the same pack, overall positions remain the same.
1. Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn) 4h00'09"
2. Brian Ahern (Dublin Orwell Dundrum Shopping) s/t
3. Paul Griffin (Kerry) s/t
4. Tjarco Cuppens (Germany ComNet Senges) s/t
5. Graham Briggs (Great Britain U23) s/t
1. Elliott, M: 52 2. McCann, D: 44
3. Nally, D:
1. Lergard,T 63
2. Filip,B 43
3. Winn,J 29
Team General Classification
1. Ireland Thorntons Recycling 57h05'36"
2. Yorkshire Murphy & Gunn @ 02'56"
3. Slovenia Perutnina @ 05'18"