RAS Comeragh CC Live Coverage - Stage 3
STAGE 3, TUESDAY 19TH MAY, COBH – CAHIRCIVEEN, 189 KMS.
Day three is the longest of the race, clocking up a whopping 189 kilometres between Cobh and Cahirciveen. It’s also arguably the toughest; following the category three Coolavokig, the category one climbs of The Coom and Coomakista are certain to blow the field apart. The latter is just 22 kilometres from the finish and thus may play a very decisive role in determining the final winner of the race
COBH, Jack Lynch Tunnel, Srelane, Curralahy, Lissarda, Macroom, Coolavokig Category 3 KOM, Baile Mhic Ire, Baile Bhuirne, The Coom Category 1 KOM, Kilgarvan, Kenmare, Templenoe, Sneem, Caherdaniel, Coomakista Category 1 KOM, Waterville, CAHIRCIVEEN.
LIVE COVERAGE STARTS AROUND 11AM (MOBILE SIGNAL PERMITTING).
11:00 - Pinch me I am must be dreaming here, it’s sunny, warm and the wind is light here in Cobh. We are just rolling through the neutral area …
11:03 - Once again the riders were calm and relaxed this morning. Don however broke a cleat with 3 minutes to the start. Cue myself and Conor sprinting up and down the other team cars frantically looking for a spare. Thankfully we got sorted out and a little bit of emergency shoe surgery later Don was ready just in the nick if time.
11:06 - The team rode the 8k to the start as if todays 189k including one cat3 and two cat1 climbs wasn’t enough.
11:17 - It’s a fast start. We are doing over 50kph with lots of action at the front. At the back one of the Murphy Surveyors riders is dropped. One of the Newry lads too.
11:21 - That Murphy Surveyor rider, Brian Geraghty has abandoned. At the front a group of 20 is clear including the yellow jersey.
11:23 - Meanwhile normal weather conditions resume. It’s raining now.
11:24 - All together again but a lot of racing going on with the field stretched out in one long line as we head down the dual carraigeway section of the N25 to Cork.
11:26 - In Cobh this morning we went to use the bathroom in a pub to find the premises busy with locals drinking at 10am on a Monday morning. Fair play to you lads!
11:27 - We have just passed through the Jack Lynch tunnel. The heat is still on. Apparently the bunch were all making “whoo - hoo” noises in the tunnel. Kids eh ?
11:30 - The big contenders let Ian Wilkinson open too much of a lead yesterday they will have to do something today.. Expect fireworks.
11:33 - The bunch has stalled and David McCann has attacked. In the meantime David O’Loughlin appears to be getting a super slow wheel change.
11:34 - Peter Hawkins crashed on day one, was with the doc yesterday morning but still finished as the first county rider in the stage. He’s with the race doc again.
11:36 - Its together but lined out at the front. In the meantime O’Loughlin is a long, long way back behind the broomwagon.
11:39 - Winner of the Tour of Ulster Sean Downey has a gap. The bunch stalls and 2 others join him. One of the Candi Tv riders and John Dempsey of Dan Morrissey, they have 20 seconds.
11:45 - The An Post car must have been trying to pace O’Loughlin back but they were given a bit of a telling off, so now a Marshall escorts them through the bunch to make sure that they aren’t naughty boys. Bit daft if you ask me, he didn’t puncture on purpose! Anyway he doesn’t seem bothered and shoots past like he has an outboard motor on the bike. You don’t win medals on the track like he does if you don’t have plenty of horsepower.
11:48 - 18 seconds for the break and I can just see a lineout in the front of the bunch from our position of 15th in the cavalcade. The break will be back very soon.
11:55 - 3 riders try to bridge to the break. One of them is Robin Kelly
11:56 - And now we have 6 riders in the break. I don’t know about this Robin might pay for it later.
11:59 - CRASH
12:00 - None of our riders are involved. There seemed to be about 10 riders in the crash.
12:02 - All riders are up and rolling except one. I think it was a Murphys Surveyors rider down perhaps Kieran Kelly. They are requesting an ambulance… That’s a pity.
12:04 - Robin has sat up from the break and they will be caught soon.
12:05 - A new break of 8 riders has gone 21 seconds clear.
12:08 - The only Irish rider in it is Martyn Irvine. Kristian House is there also… Perhaps this move could get somewhere. 32 seconds.
12:10 - Ray Clarke is getting back onto the bunch in his Kerry colors after a puncture.
12:12 - All our riders are in the bunch. Robin radios in for a check on who is in the break.
12:18 - We have just changed Robins bottles. That’s nearly 1.5 liters in 50k. Good stuff Robin stay hydrated it’s a long day.
12:21 - 32 seconds for the leaders. We are passing through Lissarda and the sky in front of us is black. It’s been mostly dry so far…..
12:25 - Theres the rain. The bunch is lined out again but the gap is moving out to 52 seconds. Average speed is about 44kph at the moment. But that’s into a headwind.
12:27 - Very heavy rain now. The road is quite twisty after Macroom. Stay safe folks.
12:31 - We are passing through Macroom, home of the worst nightclub in Ireland if not the whole world.
12:35 - The break is at 51 seconds and 3 chasers including Eeckhout and O’Loughlin as well as Fletcher from Halfords have gone 15 seconds clear of the chasing bunch.
12:37 - The speed has been very high so the Cat3 climb in a couple of miles could hurt…. I hear that Mark Cassidy is in trouble at the back. It’s now one minute for the leaders with the chasers still 20 seconds.
12:40 - O’Loughlin has gone out of the chase group and is picked up by another group of 4 which includes McCann, Kenneally and Downey.
12:42 The 2 chase groups have merged, Russ Downing has also come across…. That’s the gauntlet thrown down to the bunch as the KOM starts … Your move bunch….
12:45 - The chase group is caught. Checkmate. Some serious riding must have gone on there, the county riders will be hurting. Couple of riders going out the back here.
12:48 - We think all our riders made it over that one… The next one in about 10k is a 5 kilometer long cat1, the first of the race. It will be a big ask for our lads to hang with the pros on this one.
12:51 - 55 seconds now, another chase group of 3 is away containing Benny DeSchrooder of an post and David McCann of Ireland as well as one of the Newry lads. One of the leading 8 is slipping back to this group.
12:57 - Still all good for Comeragh and still raining.
13:00 - The chasers have caught the break…the Newry rider didn’t make it so that’s a lead group of 9.
13:01 We are off the main road now the cat1 will start soon and so will the action….
13:04 - A large group containing Kennelly, Newton, O’Brien, Delahaye etc… Made an effort to get away. Michael Hennessy was in it but it’s coming back.
13:07 - We are on the climb. Fingers crossed for Comeragh. The break is at 1:24
13:08 - The pressure is on, Mickey Fitz of Dan Morrissey is one of several riders out the back. Martin O’Loughlin won’t mind back in Carrick though as he is wearing Eurobaby colors today.
13:11 - This is a steep one, the car is struggling, you can see the top from miles away. I hope our lads don’t look up it’s the kind of sight that can break a rider.
13:13 - Riders being dropped here. No word on our lads yet…
13:46 - We lost another half hour worth of updates there. Technology eh?
13:47 - Anyway in summary all of our riders made it over the Cat1. David McCann took the KOH. Michaels brother was on the climb and told us that Robin was a little out the back but made it back on the descent.
13:50 - Michael attacked the bunch on the descent. We assume he is back in the bunch. The McCann group still has about 1:20 on the bunch. Various chase groups are going after them including one with Kirsipiu.
13:58 - Its been like the wacky races since Kilgarvan through to Kennare with all the feeding going on. We have refuelled all of the Comeragh riders they are all still comfortable in the break.
14:03 - The Kirsipiu group has caught the leaders. So that’s 13 riders at 50 seconds, Russ Downing is trying to bridge solo, he must fancy a crack at the overall….
14:06 - He is joined by Christensen of Denmark and Eeckhout of An Post.
14:09 - Its raining again. When is it not in Kerry ?
14:12 - We just saw a rider in the cavalcade coming out of a side road, he must have taken a wrong turn. Poor sod.
14:16 - The commissaire was annoyed with all the crazy feeding going on and has ordered that only one rider can come back for bottles for the entire team.
14:19 - Its driving rain again and the bunch is very lined out. They are trying to bring this gap down.
14:26 - Its 18 riders clear now…
14:27 - Damn, Mark punctured just as the pace went up. He has a wheel and is back on the bike, another car nearly wiped him out, he has enough breath to tell the driver what he thinks of that.
14:31 - Michael has a problem too not sure what but he is back on the group. Mark is well back….
14:34 - Mark is back on.
14:35 - Sorry all panic in the Comeragh car. The break contains the yellow jersey now and is 2:15 ahead of a 7 man chase group which includes Neil Delahaye.
14:39 - A group containing about 15 riders including some pros and one of the an post riders, Cassidy I think has gone 2 minutes out the back. We are on a long drag towards CahirDaniel and it’s starting to get a little strung out. We think our lads are still in the main bunch.
14:43 - The sun has come out to taunt the riders.
14:45 - 2 groups at the front of the race and they look like they might come together. The bunch don’t seem too interested in getting them back at the moment.
14:48 - Hey race radio how about telling us what’s going on. The reports are so conflicting I think one guy is reporting on the RAS and the other one the Giro. Slow down take a breath and just tell us what’s happening.
14:54 - Still no idea what’s happening at the front. All the big boys are up there, at least most of them. In the meantime all Comeragh riders are safe in the bunch.
15:00 -All except Keith who casually stops off for a toilet break before noncholantly riding off without a care in the world back to the main bunch. Showoff. I would have done it in my pants.
15:04 - Ok the situation is 6 riders in the lead including Eeckhout, Mccann, Kirsipiu, Newton and local rider Brian Kenneally.
15:06 - 2 more riders, Russ Downing and Conor Murphy have joined them.
15:08 - A group of about 20 riders is 1:27 behind which includes the yellow jersey and Ray Clarke of Worldwide Cycles.
15:13 - We are on the last cat1 climb. Robin is out the back but still fighting the top is about a kilometer away… The rest of the lads look to be in the main bunch. There are lots of riders out the back here.
15:14 - The chasers are gaining on the break a little. Conor tells Keith not to be afraid to attack on the climb. I won’t print the reply.
15:15 - We are over the top, The bunch is in 3 or 4 pieces…. We don’t know where our riders are.
15:20 - It looks like a Comeragh rider is in the back group of what’s left of the bunch.
15:25 - I think it’s Keith. I see a red dot move to the front and line it out. If it is he won’t stand for this.
15:27 - Robin was cramping on that climb but he pulled back time in the last kilometer. On the descent he has caught the back group of what used to be the main group.
15:31 - The lead group is at 10k to go and holding at 1:15 ahead of the yellow jersey group which is being controlled by the Halfords team.
15:32 - The main bunch is closing down the yellow jersey group at a fast rate. 4 riders attack at the front… Kenneally, McCann, Kirsipiu and Newton.. The stage winner will be one of these.
15:38 - Keith was not in that rear group so he must be up the road in the main bunch. Robins group seems to be riding steady, there are about 30 riders in it, it’s about 5 miles to go so they are unlikely to merge with the next bunch.
15:40 - At this point we are working under the assumption that our remaining riders are in the yellow jersey group which has just been caught by the front part of the main bunch.
15:42 - The leaders have 4k to go. Russ Downing and Eeckhout are 16 seconds behind but not making any progress.
15:44 - The yellow jersey group is 1:45 back. No idea the time gap to Robins group. The big man did well today, all these cat1 climbs are not easy for sprinters.
15:47 - There are other groups behind us. There are still 4 leaders with 2k to go.
15:48 - Kirsipiu wins. He can add Cahirciveen to his 130 pro wins. Newton was second, Mccann third, Kenneally fourth.
15:52 - I will check where our lads finished shortly. We are just coming into the finish now with Robins group.
15:54 - As I said it’s tough for sprinters, the green jersey holder for points was also in Robins group.
16:02 - Keith was our best placed rider finishing in the yellow jersey group. Mark fell back a little on the descent as did Don and Michael on a drag with a few K to go… They finished a minute or two back in a small group with Robins group another couple of minutes back. A great showing considering the quality of rider who finished behind us. Michael did indeed crash after the first KOH but was up quickly.
That’s it for today, tune in tomorrow.