Damien Shaw dares to dream as he extends overall lead in France

Posted on: April 14th, 2017

Damien Shaw dares to dream as he extends overall lead in France

Damien Shaw is all smiles in France. After great riding by his team he has retained the yellow jersey and even extended his lead.

 

Having won the opening stage and held the yellow jersey yesterday, Damien Shaw has extended his lead at the Tour du Loir et Cher (2.2).

The An Post-Chainreaction man lost some time today, but only to riders not in the breakaway with him on Wednesday’s opener.

And so Shaw has extended his lead on the 2nd place man overall; from six seconds to 10 seconds.

The Irishman started the day with 6 seconds in hand on Thomas Rostollan (Equipe Cycliste Armee de Terre). Joey Van Rhee (Destil-Joe Piels CT) was 3rd this morning at 10 seconds.

Behind that top 3, there was then 52 seconds covering 4th to 10th.

However, Rostollan lost time to Shaw this afternoon and has dropped to 4th overall, at 21 seconds. Van Rhee has jumped one place to 2nd and is still 10 seconds behind Shaw, as he was this morning.

And now just 21 seconds covers 4th to 10th as some of those who were not in the breakaway with Shaw on stage 1 have closed up a little.

 

Sean McKenna leads the An Post-Chainreaction team on the front of the bunch in France. The team rode out of their socks today to keep Damien Shaw in the yellow jersey.

 

Today’s 211km stage took the riders from Savigny-sur-Braye to Vendôme and was won by Arvid de Kleijn (Baby-Dump Cycling Team).

He won a sprint finish and was one of seven men home on the same time after just over five hours in the saddle.

There was then another group of five at four seconds followed by a group of 14 a further eight seconds back.

Shaw was in that third group and behind it clusters of riders came home with gaps of seconds dividing them.

But on stage 1 Shaw had made the seven-man winning breakaway and then went solo in the closing kilometres.

He took victory that day by four seconds from Rostollan. The remaining five escapees were another three seconds back. And the peloton would lose 47 seconds to Shaw.

Yesterday’s stage ending in a bunch sprint kept the gaps at the top unchanged.

And this evening in France while Shaw lost time due to the bunch fracturing on the run-in, he was strongest of the men in the initial breakaway.

The great news for him is that today was the hardest stage and he is still leading.

There were three climbs on the way to Vendôme. And when the racing moved onto a short finishing circuit there was a climb on each of the three laps.

The finish was technical, with the stage ending at the top of the climb third time up. It was that last lap after such a long stage that split the field a little.

Indeed, after a five man breakaway had been reeled in, the race split immediately it began the finishing circuits.

A bunch of around 55 riders came to the last kilometre together, with the gaps within that group opening in the final surge to the line.

Tomorrow’s stage 4 starts and finishes in Mantrichard, with the small matter of a lumpy 142.5km to contend with.

However, while there is another uphill finish the stage is not as hilly as today.

The race concludes on Sunday with a short stage of 97.5km; some 13 laps of a 7.5km circuit. Last year it finished in a bunch sprint.

It means if Shaw can retain the yellow jersey tomorrow he has a brilliant chance of claiming outright victory.

He passed a big test today and was the only one of his team in the leading group.

The others had assisted in the chase while the breakaway was clear in defence of Shaw’s yellow jersey.

Of the other An Post-Chainreaction men in the race, Sean McKenna was 151st at 11:48 while fellow Irishman Conor Hennebry in 152nd at 12:07.

 

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