Classy Dowling simply too strong on summit finish; takes Suir Valley stage and overall

Posted on: August 4th, 2014

Mark Dowling waited until the terrain that suited him best and blasted his way to victory  as soon as the road went up (Photo: Dave Coleman – Dc Images)



Mark Dowling has taken his second major stage race win of the season, this afternoon adding the final yellow jersey of the Suir Valley Three Day to the outright win he took at the Kerry Group Rás Mumhan in Kerry at the Easter weekend.

The DID Dunboyne man, riding for Cycling Leinster this weekend, charged up the final climb of the day to the finish line atop that ascent of The Nire cat 1 to take the stage win and the overall.

He had begun the stage in third place overall, some seven seconds behind stage 1 winner and yellow jersey this morning Dillon Byrne of the visiting UK team Champion System-Maxgear.

And Dowling was six seconds down this morning on Bryan McCrystal of Aquablue.


First and second this morning, Dillon Byrne and Bryan McCrystal were forced to play second fiddle to masterful Mark Dowling today (Photo: Dave Coleman – Dc Images)



Those three were the hot pre race favourites and did not disappoint on Saturday’s tough opening stage run off in horrendously wet conditions.

They filled the podium places having escape in a three man move, with Byrne winning the sprint for the win from McCrystal and Dowling right behind; all three on the same time but Byrne getting a bonus of 10 seconds, McCrystal 6 and Dowling 4

There was then a gap of just six seconds back to Colm Cassidy of UCD, with team mate Eoin Morton a further 22 seconds back. And just three seconds elapsed before Javan Nulty (Cycling Leinster) and Paddy Clarke (Liquidworx-Fitscience) filled 6th and 7th on the opening stage; both 31 seconds down on the winner.

There was then a big gap before the stage winner’s team mate Sebastian Baylis led home the group for 8th, some 1:05 down on the day.

On the 92km stage 2 yesterday morning, three riders – Sean Hahessy (Carrick Wheelers), Ryan Sherlock (Top Team) and Jonathan Cregeen (Team Wallis Cycles) – broke away to take the podium places, in that order.

However, their gap of 16 seconds to the bunch, led home by yellow jersey Byrne, saw no real change in the overall.



And when comeback man Ken Tobin of Cycling Leinster took last night’s stage 3 criterium in great style from a bunch sprint; again the overall did not change.

With things so tight at the top, especially between leader Byrne and then McCrystal and Dowling, The Nire summit finish was always going to be a huge factor.

In the end, it was Dowling’s climbing prowess that the others simply had not answer for.

He held back as fourth placed overall Cassidy went clear early today, only to be brought back by Byrne’s and McCrystal’s teams.

And when the field hit the closing climb, Dowling was expertly paced by Cycling Leinster team mate James Davenport. Dowling then surged with around 2km to go to blow away the other contenders.

The yellow jersey and McCrystal lost a minute, while up front Sherlock snatched second place from Davenport.

This evening though it’s Dowling with the biggest smile as he once again goes home the victor.

More later.