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Darragh O’Mahony wins epic opening stage at Tour of Ulster

Posted on: April 29th, 2017

Darragh O’Mahony wins epic opening stage at Tour of Ulster

Darragh O’Mahony shows his delight as he takes the epic opening stage of the Tour of Ulster.

 

Darragh O’Mahony has extended his brilliant run so far this season with victory on the opening stage of the Tour of Ulster into The Moy.

He was best of the break on a day when 92.9 miles of hard racing split the race to pieces.

And while there are still three stages remaining, many in the race already find themselves well out of contention.

O’Mahony was best in the sprint after just over 3½ hours of racing; the composition of the winning move underlining the strength in depth in the race this year.

Cycling Ireland’s top ranked rider Matteo Cigala (Aqua Blue Sport Academy) was 2nd on the day with Chris McGlinchey (Cycling Ulster) round out the podium.

Also in the winning escape as Eoin Morton (UCD-FitzCycles.ie) as well as the Lucan CRC duo of Conn McDunphy and Dermot Trulock.

And completing the escape was Sean Lacey, a team mate of Cigala’s and the winner f last year’s national road series.

 

Robert Jon McCarthy leads the breakaway from eventual stage winner Darragh O’Mahony (Photo: Stephen McMahon)

 

They all finished on the same time save for McDunphy, who was 7th and 5 seconds adrift.

Another 37 seconds would elapse before Ton Ballester Llobera (Sportactive Racing) won the sprint for 8th from the next group.

And while a total of 33 riders would finish in different groups within 50 seconds of the winner, the gaps thereafter were huge.

The biggest group on the road at the finish numbered just 25 riders, with all but those who had been in the various breakaways during the stage finishing at least three minutes back.

How it unfolded

After several attacks from the start of the race, it was not until 15 miles was completed that the first proper breakaway took shape.

There were nine men present and they had a 15 seconds lead as the race entered Cookstown.

In that group were: Cigala, Ronan McLaughlin, Anthony Walsh ( all Aqua Blue Sport Academy), Jamie Blanchfield (Carrick Wheelers Cycling Club) and Marc Potts (Cycling Ulster).

Mark Dowling (Strata3-Velorevolution Cycling Team) was also there as was Adam Stenson (Team Bikeworx), Robert Jon McCarthy (Team Monaghan) and Ian Richardson (UCD CC-Fitzcycles.ie.

But as it looked like they might pull away, they were quickly caught.

Eoin Morton (UCD Cycling Club) was the next to attack the main field with 8 riders in pursuit.

They were Sean Yelverton (Carrick Wheelers Cycling Club), Angus Fyffe (Cycling Ulster), Lindsay Watson (Cycling Ulster), Craig Rea (Phoenix CC), McDunphy and Trulock, James Davenport (Strata3-Velorevolution) and Cian O’Reilly (UCD CC-Fitzcycles.ie).

The leaders knuckled down and by the fourth climbers prime had been maintaining a lead of about one minute.

And by the time they crested that fourth climb, with 54 miles covered, both the escape and the chasing bunch were splitting.

Up front Yelverton and O’Reilly were the first to lose their places, bringing the breakaway down to seven.

In the form of his life this season, McDunphy took flight from the breakaway and got a gap of over 30 seconds.

Meanwhile the six men he had jumped away from were joined by 15 others. That left 21 men chasing lone leader Cigala.

McDunphy persisted as the attacking began from the group behind him. The pressure of the race and the distance combined to split the chase group of 21 riders.

And with 15 miles remaining six of them would catch the line leader. That was the winning of the race, with the seven arriving at the finish together and O’Mahony taking it.

Riding this weekend with Waterford Racing Club, he now holds the overall lead with Trulock in the climbers’ jersey.

With stage 2 consisting of 92 miles in the Mournes and featuring six climbs, it should split to pieces again.

 

Stage 1: Moy – Moy (92.9 miles)

1 O’Mahony, Darragh Waterford Racing Club 3h42m31s
2 Cigala, Matteo Aqua Blue Sport Academy
3 McGlinchey, Chris Cycling Ulster
4 Morton, Eoin UCD Cycling Club
5 Trulock, Dermot Stagg Cycles Lucan Cycling
6 Lacey, Sean Aqua Blue Sport Academy
7 McDunphy, Conn Stagg Cycles Lucan Cycling @5s
8 Ballester Llobera, TonTeam Sportactive Racing @42s
9 McLaughlin, Ronan Aqua Blue Sport Academy
10 Carnec, Louis UCD Cycling Club

 

General Classification

1 O’Mahony, Darragh Waterford Racing Club 3h42m31s
2 Cigala, Matteo Aqua Blue Sport Academy
3 McGlinchey, Chris Cycling Ulster
4 Morton, Eoin UCD Cycling Club
5 Trulock, Dermot Stagg Cycles Lucan Cycling
6 Lacey, Sean Aqua Blue Sport Academy
7 McDunphy, Conn Stagg Cycles Lucan Cycling @5s
8 Ballester Llobera, Ton Team Sportactive Racing @42s
9 McLaughlin, Ronan Aqua Blue Sport Academy @ s/t
10 Carnec, Louis UCD Cycling Club @ s/t

 

Mountains Competition

1 Trulock, Dermot 52
2 Morton, Eoin 49
3 Fyffe, Angus 46
4 McDunphy, Conn 26
5 McGlinchey, Chris 23
6 O’Mahony, Darragh 11
7 Rea, Craig 11
8 Lacey, Sean 6

 

 

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