RAS Comeragh CC Live Coverage - Stage 2
STAGE 2, MONDAY 18TH MAY, WEXFORD – COBH, 178 KMS.
Stage two is both hillier and longer, extending 178 kilometres from Wexford to Cobh. Passing through New Ross, Waterford and skirting Dungarvan, the riders will scale the category two climb of The Sweep plus the third category ascents of Glenmore and Youghal en route to the distinctive uphill finish in Cobh.
Barntown, Ballinaboola, New Ross, Glenmore Category 3 KOM, Waterford, Kilmeadon, Lemybrien, Dungarvan By-Pass, The Sweep Category 3 KOM, Youghal Category 3 KOM, Killeagh, Castlemartyr, COBH.
Coverage will begin at around 11am.
10:55 - The riders are rolling out over the bridge in Wexford in overcast and cloudy conditions.
10:56 - The wind is very strong, it looks like it could be a cross wind to Waterford with a headwind from there to Cobh. That’s going to make it tough for the riders today, I expect that a breakaway might succeed today, whatever happens this bunch is going to blow apart at some stage it’s just a matter of when.
11:00 - All Comeragh riders are in good spirits and good shape this morning, so far the day is going smoothly with no problems.
11:02 - It’s quite a long neutralized section taking in the length of Wexford town. The race will get started on the main road out by the Malden hotel where we stayed last night.
11:04 - We have a better position in the cavalcade today. Car 21. The way it works is that on day 1 positions are decided via a draw, on subsequent days it goes according to your best placed rider on the GC. Still rolling waiting for the flag to drop to start the race.
11:07 - This first hour will be crucial, cross winds destroy the peleton and our lads will need to be on their toes and positioned as high up as possible in case anyone leaves a wheel go and they find themselves out the back. You can be the strongest in a race but if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time then it’s curtains for you.
11:10 - And the race is off with an attack from one of the Surrey riders straight away. All 162 riders lined out for the start today. Peter Hawkins who crashed yesterday is at the back with the race doctor…. Not looking good, hopefully he will be able to continue.
11:14 - We are passing through our hometown of Waterford today. There will be nothing special from our boys though, they will be minding themselves. At least they better be (the temptation to ride to the front on home turf will be strong however).
11:20 - Not much happening, a few people throwing shapes at the front but nothing serious yet, Martyn Irvine has jumped clear to see if anyone will take the bait.
11:21 - They do, 4 riders get across including our own Robin Kelly and Michael Hennessy!
11:24 - All together again.
11:31 - 9 riders are moving clear including David O’Loughlin, Paul Helion and several of the UK, Norway, Australia and Denmark riders. Could be interesting. They have 17 seconds, that’s not a lot in these conditions. But there is lots of horsepower in this group.
11:35 - A slight shower there, just watched a rider getting drafted back to the bunch at light speed. The motorcycle commissire was not amused judging by the way he is waving his arms about.
11:37 - This gap is moving out fast… 40 seconds, the bunch better wake up, these are not the kind of riders you let go…
11:45 - The break is out to 1:27, Simon Kelly and Sean Lacey are 20 seconds behind them. There are 8 in the break and the blackboard man is showing them the numbers of the chasing riders.
11:47 - Michael Hennessy gets across to the chasers , will he make it to the break which now has 1:29.
11:57 - We are in New Ross, so for those of you thinking of coming out in Waterford we are expecting to arrive at the bridge just before 12:30.
11:59 - The gap is 1:46. The cat3 climb of Glennore will be shortly. It’s a regular on the Comeragh training rides. On those occasions they go very well, but then they only have the likes of me to beat, let’s see how they do against the pro’s. Fingers crossed.
12:03 - The chase group with Michael in it went back to the bunch. It’s raining at the moment and we are getting reports of worse weather on the other side of Waterford.
12:06 - The Garda escort at the back of the bunch is escorting the tv crew to the front, the civillian traffic behind is trying to get past, which of course it won’t be able to do and will end up in the cavalcade. Could get messy.
12:08 - They are on the climb… I hate this climb, it’s not steep, it’s just long, wide and windy. The bunch seems to be sticking together whilst the gap moves out to 2 minutes. The average speed for the first hour was 41kph, not bad in these conditions.
12:13 - So far so good for Comeragh, as it stands we will be in the main field coming through Waterford.
12:14 - We will be using Waterfords outer link road. That could cause problems, part of it was used for the 2007 nationals. It’s quite draggy, open and windy with 2 short climbs near the end that could do damage…
12:17 - There is a stall in the bunch over the top of the climb allowing several riders to stop for what my American colleagues call a “biological break”. One of the riders is seen having a break on a road sign!
12:19 - Pete Williams of Candi Tv took the KOM. All Comeragh riders safe in the bunch. The break had closed a little but is back out to 2:25.
12:26 - Lot of feeding going on here allowing the gap to move up to 3:10. Robin comes on the radio telling Don and Keith to move up for the trip through Waterford. I hope he is joking.
12:27 - It is bucketing down now, lots of riders in the cars at this stage.. Damn that rain is pretty violent. The bunch is stalling again as riders collect their rain jackets.
12:32 - Several punctures there must be something on the road. We are approaching the bridge in Waterford now, the bunch is still getting fed and clothed and is not chasing the break…. Yet.
12:38 - The Comeragh lads know these roads well, hopefully a little local knowledge will go a long way. On the Dunmore Rd now and the break has 3:24.
12:40 - The Comeragh train led the race into Waterford. Don, Robin and Keith had it lined out. Emma Walsh was among the comeragh supporters on the quays, hopefully you got a nice picture Emma. Send it on if you did.
12:43 - Hello to all our teammates who are marshalling today, we have already spotted Sinead, Pat Brennan, Eoin and lots of other familiar faces…
12:46 - Its all over the place in the cavalcade, like the wacky races after all the activity and cars trying to regain their position. Still lots of riders in the cars, that’s not due to the pace though.
12:48 - We have a roadside feeding station after Lemybrien, we are told the weather is still poor out there although it is easing off here as we approach the Tramore road.
12:50 - It must have been arts and crafts night back home in Waterford as we spot a good luck Comeragh sign on a bridge on the link road.
12:53 - Bit of a drag here before we join the Cork road, a group of 15 is off the front but coming back, I bet our lads are in that, they train on this pull all the time.
12:54 - Gap is down to 2:46. That Group of 15 still have 7 seconds. The pace is on, I have just seen the mountains jersey go out the back and one of the Galway riders has quit the race.
12:59 - Hello to Ciaran Fallon, send me on any pics you got when we passed you back there! Also hello to my better half Annette who was standing at the side of the road a little while ago with Showry, Sandra and the crew from work.
13:01 - The next 30 miles will hold no surprises for us, we cycle it every day pretty much.
13:38 - This stupid app just lost the last 30 minutes of updates. Apologies for that. Anyway we are now approaching the feed zone at Lemybrien. Our crew are Eoin Mullally, Karen Butler and Karen Mcgrath.
13:40 - Feedzones are dangerous, let’s hope everything goes well. The break is at 3:30.
13:42 - Don punctured a while ago, the wheel change from neutral service was decent although Don nearly hit our car as he pulled off. We took the opportunity to refill his bottles and he was able to quickly rejoin the main bunch.
13:45 - Robin radios in that the feed zone went well. Mark may have dropped a bottle though, we will check him out shortly.
13:46 - Crash. Keith Fox of Clonmel and Philip Finegan of Orwell. Fox is chasing back… The Orwell rider is with the doc and not looking good.
13:50 - A dangerous chase group has formed with 8 riders containing Brian Kenneally, Kirsipiu, Irvine and Kristian House. This is familiar country for Kenneally and this move looks promising.
13:58 Another 8 riders have come across to the chasers…. Former Tour Stage winner Leon Van Bon, Former CSC rider Luke Roberts, multiple RAS winner Chris Newton, 2007 runner up Paidi O’Brien of An Post, 2008 Tour of Ireland runner up Russ Downing, Rob Partridge and others. This is serious.
14:03 - As we get off the phone with local radio station WLR, they are already within 1:30 of the break. The bunch have not given up and are at 2:20.
14:08 - We are through Dungarvan now and on the bottom of the cat2 sweep climb. There was another small crash in Dungarvan and the Orwell rider who crashed earlier has abandoned.
14:10 - Its splitting on the climb. McCann has realized that the winning selection is being made and is chasing across, his Ireland teammate Irvine is sitting up in the break waiting for him.
14:14 - Lots of riders getting dropped now, someone send some body bags up to Dungarvan.
14:15 - The chase group are at 1 minute, the main bunch at 1:12… Is that right only 12 seconds ? I will confirm that. All our riders appear to still be ok…
14:19 - The race has broken up at the top of the climb bear with us, I think I can see a Comeragh jersey being tailed off at the back.
14:25 - Its all change. There are now 6 leaders with 1:20 to the main bunch. The bunch has broken into 3. We think either Robin, Michael or both are in the back group. A Comeragh shirt has launched from the front of this group to try regain the front of the field. It’s a big ask on this road.
14:31 - Its very windy here. The back group appears to be content to ride in together. There’s maybe 30 in this group including one of the clonmel riders. I still see 2 riders chasing ahead and one is a Comeragh.
14:39 - It was Robin, he has gone back to the group behind, we have fuelled him up for the finish and are moving on to the main bunch which is about 1 minute ahead. Danny Carroll was also in that bunch.
14:47 - We see Mark an Don in the main bunch, they call for feeding, but don’t come back when we get up there…. Cmon lads gets some fuel into you….
14:49 - Crossing Youghal bridge, the break has 2:44 on the bunch. All our riders are in the bunch except Robin we think.
14:53 - And as I say it, Robin comes charging through the cavalcade on Sean Laceys wheel. Don’t tell me he is going to get back on. Go on Rob.
14:55 - They are so close, but they are on the Cat 3 climb at Youghal, it’s a bad time to catch as there will be no chance to take a breather.
14:58 - Sure enough Concannon and House attack from the main bunch. The break is at 3:30.
14:59 - One of the Denmark riders took the KOH, David O’Loughlin was 3rd.
15:01 - Ouch that was a bad time for Robin to catch the bunch, he was in there and lost a bit over the very top.
15:04 - I don’t believe it, he just came down the hill into the wind at 50mph and has regained the bunch. What a ride. All Comeragh riders now safe and sound in the main bunch but it us lined out now into a crosswind…..
15:07 - Still 4 riders away with a small chase group 1 minute down. The main bunch is another 2 minutes down.
15:09 - Lots of pain and suffering in that main group now. They are tired and the wind is tearing the bunch apart as we pass the 4hr mark. There are splits forming on the slightest little rises now. The hill into the finish line will be tough…..
15:13 - Its now 4 riders with 4 chasers 1:34 back and another chase group of 3 not far ahead of the main group. The main group split into 2 there but appears to be together again.
15:18 - Less than 30k now, last chance for feeding, we get on the team radio but no-one seems interested, they are lined out on the right hand side of the road, the cross winds causing havoc.
15:26 - The Australia team pull in for a bathroom break. Then they casually ride back on.
15:28 - Castlemartyr now. 2 riders clear from the break now… Simon Richardson and Ian Wilkinson of Rapha Condor and Halfords, both UK. They are basically riding a 2 up time trial 5:23 ahead of the bunch. O’Loughlin was dropped from this group and is now 2:40 back with the chase group.
15:34 - And the bunch is 6:45 behind. That time check has woken them up and they are lined out.
15:37 - Oohhh that looks painful, the main bunch is stretched into one long single file line… Robin went a little out the back but jumped back on when it stalled for a second.
15:39 - Don is punctured, front wheel but back in the bunch.
15:55 - Race radio has gone quiet… Not much happening…. Wait a group has gone off the front of the main field containing Michael. The breakaway riders surely have it.
15:59 - All our riders are still in the bunch except Michael who is in the second chase group with 5k to go…. Main field is 8:45 behind the break , wow.
16:04 - Nice scenery down here as the bunch motors it’s way to the line. Looks like we will have all our riders in or close to the main bunch depending on how the climb to the finish goes…
16:06 - Ian Wilkinson of Halfords takes the win. The main field is 9 minutes back. Michael is now in a 15 man group a minute or two ahead of the bunch.
16:52 - Michael was close to the top 20 today.. Robin came in slightly ahead of the main bunch. Incredible. Full report later depending on Internet connection.