Smith and Keown lead Irish charge but visitors win at Junior Tour

Posted on: July 10th, 2019
Nathan Keown of the Irish team leads the breakaway while Mark Smith, in black, is also in the group; both teenagers leading the Irish challenge (Photo: Richard Quinn)

Mark Smith and Nathan Keown led the charge for Ireland today on the second stage of the Junior Tour of Ireland; getting up the road early and staying there for most of the race.

However, as an 11-man breakaway was whittled down in the final kilometres, Irish national team rider Keown unfortunately lost his place up front.

And that left an eight-man move comprised of foreign visitors and Ireland’s Smith to fight it out for stage honours in wet conditions into Kilkee.

At the end of the contest today the escapees had gained over two minutes, meaning they are now ideally placed for the overall.

However, though only two stages are completed so far, it is clear that this is a field, numbering almost 150 riders, with strength in depth.

And while it is impossible to predict who will come out on top in coming days, the fact there will be more attacks and more time gained and lost looks certain.

Today’s 94.6km stage from Ennis to Kilkee saw Ian Spenkelink (Hoppenbrouwers) claiming victory in a sprint from the breakaway.

He got the better of Magnus Sheffield (Hot Tubes) and Joe Pidcock (Fensham Howes), who were 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Finishing on the same time as the top three were Isaac Peatfield (Green Jersey), Quinn Simmons (Lux Sideshow) and Matt Kingston (Fensham Howes).

Mark Smith (Verge) lost a few lengths in the sprint and that cost him four seconds on the others; though he still claimed 7th and put in a terrific ride today.

Magnus Sheffield is now in yellow. Indeed, he holds three jerseys
Mark Smith has come good again today after a very strong Junior Tour last year

Just two seconds behind Smith was Jared Scott of Lux Sideshow in 8th place. And though Keown lost his place in the escape, he still survived and took 9th place.

The North Down CC cyclist, and one of the juniors of the season so far, was 1:26 down on the winner but 38 seconds up on the bunch which numbered about 50 riders.

Irish national team man and national TT champion Kevin McCambridge won the sprint from the bunch, taking 10th place some 2:04 down on the winner.

The result means Eli Husted (Hot Tubes), who won yesterday’s opening stage, loses his yellow jersey to the man who was 2nd today; Magnus Sheffield, also of Hot Tubes.

The new race leader also holds the white young rider classification jersey and the climbers’ jersey while Quinn Simmons is now in green.

Indeed, it was Simmons who did a lot of damage up the road; putting the breakaway in the gutter in crosswinds towards the end.

That saw Keown lose a few lengths, which turned into a bigger gap and which became impossible to close on his own given the breeze.

Sheffield leads by two seconds from Pidcock, with Simmons in 3rd at 6 seconds. Marl Smith is best of the Irish; in 7th at 10 seconds. And Keown is 9th at 1:32.

The new race leader held yellow for much of last year before puncturing on stage 5 and he and Hot Tubes look as strong as ever.

Full results available by following this link.