Matteo Cigala on the weekend that had it all for him and team
Matteo Cigala took a huge win and he was proud as punch on the podium afterwards. It has been atough weekend for the Aqua Blue Academy but their Italian import came up with the goods on the final stage of Kerry Group Rás Mumhan (Photos with thanks to George Doyle)
By Brian Canty
Matteo Cigala ended a tough weekend on the highest possible note yesterday when he won the fourth and final stage of Kerry Group Rás Mumhan in Killorglin.
The Aqua Blue Academy rider was second on stage one to Tom Mazzone (Isle of Man CC) but made up for that yesterday with a brilliant burst of speed up the steep hill in the town – beating the same guy this time.
And though he didn’t threaten the General Classification after missing a key split on Saturday he was still content with his lot.
“It was a brutally hard and fast stage with nine times up the climb,” said Cigala.
“There were very fast laps (10 in total) because a breakaway was away with four strong guys up there so the speed was really up to bring them back.”
With two kilometres to go, Sean Lacey (Aqua Blue Academy) and Mark Dowling (Strata3/VeloRevolution) struck out for stage glory but Cigala knew they’d be reeled in so he acted.
“At one kilometre to go I just said ‘I need to go now’ because Dowling was going to win.
“I sprinted until the last corner, I caught him and came out of it really fast so I sprinted to the finish and I held it to the line.
“I basically did two sprints in the last kilometre.”
Cigala’s team were decimated by injury and illness in the lead-up to the race when several riders cried off.
He battled on gamely – as did Sean Lacey and Ronan McLaughlin, and rued not winning the points jersey because of what he believes was inaction by commissaires.
“I started the first day with second which was a good result but I was a bit disappointed,” he said.
“It was my sixth second place this year and I think I started my sprint too late.
“Then on day two I missed the break but we were only three guys in the team and you are a marked man because of this sometimes.
“And we had a jersey (Lacey was in the polka dot jersey) so it was even more difficult to get away.”
Yesterday’s stage is one that has left a particularly bad taste in Cigala’s mouth. He not only missed out on the stage win but the fourth place that would have seen him take the green jersey from the shoulders of Mazzone.
And while it wasn’t the jersey he wanted, it was something he felt he could get.
“That break (on Saturday) was the winning break of the GC for the day and on Sunday I felt pretty good.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t really sprint as I stopped with 80 metres to go because there was a push.
“I couldn’t overtake or anything because it was a little unsafe.
“It didn’t really change anything because even if I got fourth it wouldn’t change my GC position but because of the push I could have been in green so this is a bit disappointing but what can I do?
“The commissaires, I don’t know why they didn’t do anything. They were strict all the days between fining riders for littering and silly things with the cars.
“There were many penalties and fines every day but when there was something in print they basically closed their eyes and let it go and I don’t think it’s right.
“Cycling Ireland wrote the rules down and do their best to judge this, it is disappointing.
“It’s not going to change my future or my career but it is disappointing a little bit.
“But I won the stage and that was the best way to finish a great four days in Kerry after great organisation by Rás Mumhan and the organisers in Killorglin. They do lots of hard work.”