RAS Comeragh CC Live Coverage - Stage 4
STAGE 4, WEDNESDAY 20th MAY, CAHIRCIVEEN – KILLORGLIN, 178 KMS.
Killorglin is the finish location for stage four, the uphill sprint to the line coming after the wearying riders complete another marathon – and gruelling - day in the saddle. Over the course of 178 kilometres they will slug it out over five category three climbs, at An Draighneain, Anascaul, Ballintaggart, Garrai na dTor, and An Draighneain once again. That’s tough enough by itself, but there’s also a very difficult category one climb to consider. The Conor Pass tops out just over 60 kilometres from the finish and will have a major effect, exposing any weaknesses and allowing the strongest riders to press their advantage.
CAHIRCIVEEN, Glenbeigh, Killorglin, Milltown, Castlemaine, Boolteens, Inch, An Draighneain Category 3 KOM, Anascaul, Anascaul Category 3 KOM, Camp, Stradbally, Conor Pass Category 1 KOM, An Daingean, Ballintaggart Category 3 KOM, Líos Póil, Garraí na dTor Category 3 KOM, An Draighneain Category 3 KOM , Inch, Boolteens, Castlemaine, Milltown, KILLORGLIN.
Live coverage will start @11, mobile phone signal permitting.
10:34 - Bright and dry here in Cahirciveen. The wind is fairly light too, perfect racing conditions.
10:37 - Its another tough one today featuring the Conor Pass. It’s more or less the same as stage 2 of Ras Mumhan with an extra 20 miles added on at the start. We had mixed fortunes that day, Mark and Michael made it over the top with the leaders but Keith had a nightmare whilst Robin was forced to abandon before the start of the climb through illness.
10:42 - It will be a lot tougher today too…. considering the company they will still hopefully be in at that point.
10:45 - Bit of a panic last night, we had to bring Robin to the race doctor as his asthma was acting up. He still sounds a little like a diesel Lada from the mid eighties but he insists he’s fine and is eager to get going.
10:49 - The rest of the riders are healthy and in good spirits.
10:50 - We have a request for more info during the day on our Carrick and Clonmel friends. I will try my best lads.
10:51 - We passed the Clonmel riders riding into town earlier on.. Fair play to them we threw our bikes in the van instead.
10:56 - We are rolling out through the town now. Still sunny, grey skies ahead.
11:03 - Waiting for the pre-stage jersey presentations here we think.
11:05 - Ian Wilkinson of Halfords still has a commanding lead in the yellow jersey and a team that’s strong enough to make sure he keeps it. The rest of the contenders will need to prove their credentials today..
11:07 - We are rolling through the neutral zone now……
11:08 - And we are off. 152 riders have signed on today and straight away a group of 8 gave gone away including Paidi O’Brien, Nico Eeckhout and Mickey Fitz of Dan Morrissey. Peter Hawkins is also in this group along with some UK riders.
11:12 - 20 seconds. The Irish team look to be reacting to this…
11:14 - 6 KOM’s today. It will be a case of survival and damage limitation for the majority of the county riders today and indeed the Comeragh riders.
11:18 - The break is at 23 seconds, one of the Danish riders just made it across, a few more are on the way.
11:20 - We are on a long drag that’s not categorized, it’s the kind of road that a standard club rider would do a 5 mile detour to avoid but these guys just blaze up it like it’s not there.
11:23 - The break is 34 seconds. David O’Loughlin gets across on his own. He is well up for it this week.
11:28 - Stephen Barrett of Ireland and Fermoy is trying to bridge the 45 second gap…. He’s a bit of a motorbike, the find of the season so far. He came second to our own Robin Kelly in the Paddys day race at Carrick.
11:32 - Barrett is on the way back to the bunch, he is sitting up. The gap is 1:04. A large bunch jumps of the front as is quickly brought back.
11:40 - Bad reception area here. The break is down to 57 seconds, the pace in the bunch must have gone up… I see Dylan Rafter of Winning Solutions struggling and coming down the cavalcade. It’s tough out there.
11:44 - We watched the broom wagon come in yesterday behind several riders who even discounting the pros could be the winning break in a Sunday ‘A’ race. That’s how tough this is.
11:55 - Crash! Aaron Buggle of Ireland and Andrew McQuaid, both are back up but the cavalcade has been stopped..
12:02 - As we pass Kilorglin a group of seven is chasing the break… It contains Mark Cassidy who came last yesterday, he has struggled for form since crashing out of this race last year whilst in yellow.
12:05 - Halfords have a man in that chase group. Team tactics at play here perhaps.
12:06 - This crash has done a little damage there are a few riders struggling in the cavalcade. Some are being treated by the race doctor on the side of the road.
12:09 - We see Kevin Harnett of the Kildare team lying at the side of the road holding his shoulder, looks like race over for him… He has crashed whilst in the cavalcade after being held up by the first crash.
12:14 - The leaders has 1:55 over the 7 man Cassidy chase group. Another 5 man chase group is away just behind that containing Derek Burke, Paul Helion and Keith Gater. Go Keith! The bunch is at 2:35.
12:19 - All these election posters are upsetting, it’s true that politics really is showbiz for ugly people. The amount of moustaches, double chins and cheap navy polyester suits staring back at me from posters should be illegal.
12:23 - The chase groups don’t seem to be getting anywhere, the halfords rider in the first chase group sits up. His team will need him to help defend the yellow jersey later.
12:25 - Its 2:48 from the leaders to the main bunch. The 2 chase groups have merged to form a group of 11 at 2:15 back.
12:27 - 3:02 to the main bunch now. It’s blue skys here at the moment. That puts Keith nearly a minute ahead of the main bunches where all Comeragh and South East riders are still situated.
12:30 - Halfords are controlling the main bunch. By the way the average speed for the first hour was 46kph. We are on the flat to Inch cruising at 50kph. That’s got to hurt.
12:33 - Its not hurting John Dempsey who stops to lighten his burden before the KOH’s start. The former Murphy and Gunn pro rider is leading the Cat2 competition.
12:37 - The chasers are still at 2:12, not making much progress, the bunch is at 3:30 now so they are going backwards a little.
12:40 - It is sunny here but I can see clouds in the distance over the Conor Pass.
12:42 - Joe Fenlon comes back for bottles for the Carrick men as the commissaire spots that a rider hanging onto the doctors car is not actually getting treated…He orders him to let go.
12:44 - They are approaching the first cat3 at inch and they are all looking for bottles…
12:46 - We are on the cat3 at Inch. Comeragh cc surf bum in chief Martin “The dude” Cullinane will be familiar with the locale.
12:50 - Keiths group is at 2:05 whilst the bunch is now at 3:57. They don’t seem too bothered about this break in the main bunch. Perhaps they are expecting the leaders to perish on the Conor Pass. It’s certainly possible at the pace they are setting.
12:53 - Kit Gilham of Sigmasport takes the KOH ahead of David O’Loughlin. We think all our riders made it over, it’s a pretty long one actually, not that steep but at the speed these boys are going all the hills are steep regardless of the actual gradient.
12:55 - Hugh Mulhearne punctured just before the top of that climb. He should get back on though on the descent towards Camp. Hey I remember this road, this is the Lacey cup in reverse. This is where the A riders caught me and shot me out the back in my first ever race. Ah memories…
13:02 - That means there is a bit of a dirty climb on the way… More of a long drag really.
13:03 - And the leaders are already over it with O,Loughlin taking revenge on Gilham taking the prime at the top.
13:04 - We are car 23 today so a long way back. We are only on the bottom of that climb now.Keiths group is holding around 2:03, the main bunch is more than 4 minutes back now.
13:08 - 86k covered in the first 2 hrs. We can see the lineout on the descent. It looks pretty intact so all our guys are still there… It looks like Stephen O’Sulluvan of Engraveit is either getting a new bike or packing it in. He looked pretty shook when we passed him. His teammate John Mason is looking for the doctor too up in the chase group. Dodgy curry in the Engraveit hotel last night ?
13:14 - Keiths group is at 1:50 now. Good stuff. If nothing else he will have a good head start on the naiv field at the Conor Pass. Must feel strange being out there with a bunch if pros chasing you up the highest road in Ireland.
13:18 - We are a long descent here and the entire Kinesis team just stopped to relieve themselves. It’s a whole different level.
13:21 - Keiths group is gaining now at 1:46. Main bunch still over 4 minutes.
13:24 - Make that 4:45. They must surely be keeping their powder dry for the cat1 Conor Pass.
13:26 - Loads more election posters including one beauty not wearing a tie, presumably to suggest that he’s hip and that if you are in the 18-35 demographic you might vote for him. It doesn’t quite work though and he just looks like 5 pounds of potatoes stuffed in a 3 pound sack.
13:30 - Back to the racing and it’s as you were. Halfords are still controlling the bunch. A reminder to our Carrick readers that Michael Fitz is in this lead group more than 5 minutes ahead of the main field. There are 3 An Post riders in there too: Eeckhout, O’Brien and O’Loughlin.
13:34 - How did the other contenders let that happen ? These boys won’t be planning ok coming back, O’Loughlin is their best placed overall at about 7 minutes down.
13:37 - Keith must be putting in an incredible ride on that bunch of 5 to be actually gaining on these 10 leaders. 1:50 now. No reaction from the bunch which has settled down and is plugging along at a controlled pace
13:40 - This is the calm before the storm, I would cause less damage to the bunch with a hand grenade than the Conor Pass will.
13:44 - Crash! It’s Don…..
13:46 - He is back up and we have gotten him back on. He seems ok, his helmet might be broken but he has joined the bunch again.
13:48 - Stephen Barret gets a wheel change and is back in the bunch.
13:49 - Martin Cullinane has texted in to say he has finished a surf lesson with some swedish bikini models. Hold position Marty we have abandoned the team car and are proceeding on foot to Waterford.
13:52 - Mark Power of Dan Morrissey has punctured, he’s a good bit back in the cavalcade right at the foot of the Conor Pass. Bad timing.
13:55 - Lots of punctures and mechanicals today, neutral service are out of wheels and spare bikes.
13:56 - Mark Power passes us in the cavalcade. Still a long way to go but he’s a good climber he should make it.
13:57 - Keith Fox of Clonmel needs a spare bike. Broken chain, the third in the race in 10 minutes.
13:58 - Former Pezula pro, Ushers Derek Burke is dropped from the Keith group. They must be going hard. Still about 2 minutes.
14:00 - Fox goes through on the team car getting a saddle adjustment. He won’t get on though the bunch is shredded. Bodies everywhere.
14:07 - Mark Power still has a lot to do.
14:07 - We just passed Danny Carroll …. there is no main group anymore. It’s in about 20 groups with riders in ones and twos everywhere. It will come back together to some extent on the descent.
14:08 - We just passed Robin and Don, they are going quite well.
14:18 - Mark Power passes us again. And there goes Robin, he sees the top and goes hard for it passing Mark Power and takes off like a shot down the other side….
14:20 - What the hell was that… Don streaks past us as 85kph.
14:22 - One of the Surrey riders crashes on the descent. Great work from the marshalls getting his bike out of the middle of the road or it could have been a lot worse. The ambulance is with the rider he should be ok.
14:28 - We have refuelled Robin and Don after Dingle. Mark Power too he wanted a mix of coke and water.
14:29 - Coca Cola that is.
14:30 - O’Loughlin took the KOM on the Conor Pass.
14:31- Robin and Don are in about the fifth group on the road with Mark Power. Danny Carroll and Keith Fox are behind them.
14:39 - Its all over the place but we think Shelley is in the next group along with Cathal McCarthy and Ray Clarke as well as our own Michael Hennesy.
14:43 - There are about 5 main groups on the road. There are 8 from the original breakaway still out front. The chase group was caught by the pros who are now in a 32 man group. The Yellow jersey is 2 minutes back in another group of about 30.
14:48 - Mark and Keith are with the yellow jersey group !!! What a ride. John Dempsey and Joe Fenlon are there too, I think that Sam Bennett must be up in the 32 man chase group….
14:50 - Michaels group is the next group back. Martin Gill is also in this one. No timegaps to that group or Robin and Dons one behind.
14:52 - The leaders are caught! It’s about 40 riders at the front now… The yellow jersey group with Keith and Mark is 1:35 back as we pass Inch again…. 150k done about 25k to go…
14:53 - Mark is looking very comfortable indeed whilst Halfords is driving the group to try protect the yellow jersey. They have a tail wind and the gap is down to 1:30 but they will hardly catch the 50 or so pro riders ahead of them will they?
15:01 - 20k to go for the leaders. Yellow jersey group now at 1:47 and slipping…. The big contenders let the Yellow jersey get too much time on stage 2, they must be kicking themselves.
15:04 - But they are making up for it now. 1:58 they are turning the screw… They want this Jersey.
15:06 - 18k to go…. Mark Power of Dan Morrissey was unlucky to puncture where he did. He won the cat2 competition in this race last year.
15:08 - I think that Robin and Dons group is 7:30 back on the leaders. That’s unconfirmed.
15:09 - Its been a classic stage today. The climb has destroyed the race. Speaking of climbs, O’Loughlin took another cat3, I wonder if that will be enough to take the mountains jersey from McCann ?
15:12 - 2:12 to the yellow jersey group.
15:13 - 11 minutes now to the group with Michael in it, it is possible that Robin and Dons group has merged with this one, there were very strong riders in that group. There was less than a minute between those groups when we passed.
15:16 - Its a great result for the team if our riders can stay upright to the finish line. The plan was to just survive the toughest stage if the race, but Keith and Mark are coming in with the yellow jersey, Michael, Don and Robin are coming in with groups a few minutes down.
15:20 - 2:42 now for the yellow jersey group. Rapha Condor are driving at the front group as we pass Miltown. The leaders are passing 5k to go. This should put Simon Richardson of Rapha Condor into yellow.
15:22 - Nice kit that Rapha sell. You’d need to sell your firstborn to afford it though.
15:24 - Rapha Condor still in control at 3k to go. Niall Delahaye attacks the yellow jersey group. The broom wagon is passing 20k. It will be a long day for the backmarkers.
15:26 - No shame in coming in at the back in this race, most domestic cyclists would be delighted to be lanterne rouge in the RAS just to say they completed it.
15:29 - Nicholas Walker of Australia - Cinelli wins the sprint finish. The yellow jersey group is all together again and rolling in smoothly.
15:31 - 1k for the yellow jersey group. Mark and Keith looking comfortable.
15:32 - And they are across the line. Chapeau gentlemen, if you can live ride like that with the pros I don’t feel so bad about the beatings you give me on our midweek training spins.
15:35 - I won’t list full results here check out the RAS website or Shane Stokes… We have some riders to look after. When they get in I will let you know where they finished.
15:48 - All riders home safe and sound…. Robin and Dons group did indeed catch the group in front containing Michael. As a bonus Robin and Don went with a small attack from that group and stole some time back to help with the county team classification. Michael came in with the remainder of that group maybe a minute later. There are still riders coming in.
15:56. - Clonmel riders… Shelly finished with Robin and Don or maybe a tiny bit ahead. The rest of the Clonmel riders finished in the group that they broke away from. Mark Power was also in this group, Hugh and Ray Clarke jumped ahead of that group at some point on the run in. Sam finished with the leaders.