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McCarthy rockets home for big Team Ireland win at Rás

Posted on: May 21st, 2018

Just two stages into Rás Tailteann 2018 and the Irish riders already have a stage victory. While a breakaway was brought home by one of the Swiss riders yesterday, the win was settled in a bunch sprint on stage 2 today. And Robbie McCarthy of Team Ireland has taken the honours (Photo: Brian Keane – Inpho)

 

By Graham Gillespie

Team Ireland’s Robert John McCarthy took a bunch sprint to win today’s stage 2 of the Rás.

The Irishman won the sprint into Tipperary ahead of Luuc Bugter (Delta Cycling) and Lindsay de Vylder (Belgium).

The peloton came back together with 5km left after Conn McDunphy (Holdsworth) and Fintan Ryan (Cycling Leinster) were chased down.

Robbe Ghys of Belgium then launched a solo attack with less than 2km to go.

Ghys held a 100-metre advantage with a kilometre to go. But this lead was quickly cut to just 20 metres with 600m left and the young Belgian couldn’t stay out front.

This allowed McCarthy to take his second ever Rás stage, following a 2014 stage 1 victory.

Luuc Bugter (Delta Cycling) took second place and in doing so held onto the points jersey.

Race leader Cyrille Thiery finished safely in the peloton and holds onto the yellow jersey for tomorrow.

The U23 jersey also did not change hands, with Robbe Ghys retaining it.

The first county rider was Simon Ryan (Velo Revolution) who finished an impressive fourth.

Paidí O’Brien of DHL-Gerard, meanwhile, came home in eighth place and he will wear the county jersey for stage three.

Finally, Lucas Ruegg (Switzerland) was rewarded for his work on the climbs with the KOM jersey.

 

How Rás stage 2 unfolded

Today’s 148-kilometre stage went from Athlone to Tipperary. Despite some heavy rain, the race got off to a fast but uneventful start in the first 40 kilometres.

However, the pace slowed greatly when the peloton reached the first cat 2 climb of this year’s Rás after 45.6km.

The rain made the narrow roads more difficult to navigate on this 5km climb.

This lead to several riders needing either medical or mechanical service, with county jersey holder Matteo Cigala (Viner-Pactimo-Caremark) requiring a bike change.

Lucas Ruegg (Switzerland) avoided most of the chaos to take the Bikepark ascent ahead of Daniel Coombes (Wales Racing Academy) and Jason van Dalen (Delta Cycling).

Although the peloton would come back together again before the two cat 3 climbs at Dolla, Ruegg got himself into another leading group to take the second of these climbs after 92.1km.

Max Stedman (Canyon Eisberg) finished behind Ruegg on this climb but he won the previous ascent after 88km.

Following the climbs, the greasy conditions lead to a few crashes but no rider was badly hurt.

Two Irish riders Conn McDunphy and Fintan Ryan then enjoyed a spell at the front of the race.

The two riders worked well together and held a 36-second gap over the peloton with 16km to go.

However, the peloton got across to McDunphy and Ryan with 5km to go, meaning a sprint was to decide today’s stage.

Robbe Ghys tried to attack early with about 1.8km to go but he ran out of steam.

This enabled McCarthy to become the first Irishman to take a stage at this year’s Rás.

 

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