Ulster Cycling News
26May/060

Rás Lead Changes Again

Banbridge rider Tommy Evans seized the “Yellow Jersey” in this mornings Team Time Trial stage of the FBD Rás only to lose it in the afternoon road stage from Cheathrú Rua to Westport. Evans benefited from the Team TT rules whereby the International teams and the County teams competed separately and were awarded bonuses on placings rather than actual times. Evans’ Dublin Usher IRC squad was the fastest county team and was thus awarded the same advantage as the winning Great Britain team giving Evans the “jersey” with an 8 second advantage over Kristian House (Great Britain).
The afternoon stage to Westport may have been the shortest at just 50 miles but it produced a series of attacks aimed at unseating Evans from the race lead. Evans fought back throughout but in the closing miles he lost contact with a number of his main protagonists including House, Danny Pate (USA) and David O’Loughlin (Team Ireland).
Ciaran Power (Éireann Dan Morrissey) won the stage ahead of Jehudi Schoonacker (Sean Kelly Team) with Ahoghill’s Ryan Connor riding for the Irish National team third.
Crumlin's Matthew Ward competing for the Dublin Usher team had one of his best results to date finishing fifth and claiming the top county rider of the stage award.
There was bitter disappointment for Ards CC's Brendan Kirk who was eliminated after the 15 mile TT stage. It seems a great pity that a "county rider" who has competed with professionals for 5 days in stages over 100 miles in atrocious weather conditions should be eliminated on such a stage. Cycling Ulster recognises the amount of work put in by Ards CC in fielding the first Ulster team in the Rás for manys a year (Down Biznet Solutions) and questions the wisdom of enforcing the 30% limit on such a short stage.
Tomorrow's penultimate stage of the Rás takes the riders 100 miles to Clara followed on Sunday with another 100 miles to the grand finale at Skerries.

REPORT: Tommy Lamb

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