Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend 167 of the top Irish and International cyclists took to the roads of Kerry to fight it out for the coveted Malliot Jeune “Yellow Jersey”. The race would consist of 4 stages with one stage each day and a total of 500km covered over the weekend.
The Team went into the race with big ambitions. We wanted the overall win but knew we would have a hard battle on our hands due to the quality of riders in the field.
Stage 1 was to be as fast as the U23 Gent Wevelgem with an average of 47.6km and on roads with Irish cobbles. We were to get Daire Feeley into the move of the day and with 4 Team Ireland riders in the move we were entitled to leave it to them to do the work. We did and finished second on the stage. David Brody, Stephen Murphy and Darragh Bailey were to finish in the next group on the road putting us 3rd on GC in the Team Classification and 2nd in General Classification. The result gave us a great start to the weekend. Feeley was also 2nd in the U23 Classification.
Stage 2 was to throw up a bit of a curve ball with us missing the break and having punctures and mechanicals at all the wrong times. With the yellow jersey and 2 other riders putting over 4 minutes into the rest of the field it stuffed a number of riders ambitions, but not ours. We regrouped for stage 3. David Brody and Stephen Murphy finished the day in the main group which was almost 6 minutes back from the winners in 22nd & 23rd on the stage.
Stage 3 was where we were going to try to do some damage an get back into overall contention. With the weather so poor it suited us to go from the gun and we did. We lost 2 riders early on in Murphy and Bailey with Brody holding the chase group for most of the day and covering for Feeley who had attacked on the first climb of the day and gone solo. Brody was to have a crash at a critical moment that knocked him out of any contention for the rest of the day and he finished 44th some 14 min down on the stage winner. Feeley however was joined by a number of riders. Our goal was to drive for the line and distance the jersey putting as much time into him as we could which at one point in the race was hitting 5 minutes. Heading up comonaspic Dowling was to forge ahead with Feeley behind and Walsh chasing Feeley. Feeley was to wait for Walsh giving a 2 against 1 and enabled Feeley to try put more time into yellow with the help of Walsh who had his eyes on the stage. The pair caught Dowling on the run in to the finish with Walsh taking the sprint from a rather cooked and empty Feeley. A super stage and fantastic effort by the team to try steal back yellow but unfortunatley Chris McGlinchey in yellow was to claw back a number of minutes and finish 3 mins down on Feeley. We ended up short on time but were so proud of who and what we did on the day. How or never the team showed super riding and all from our 19 year olds who have all been developed within our program here at Team iTap. With a 2nd on 2 stages and 2 green jersey’s to date the final stage beckoned.
Stage 4 was the standard Ras Mumhan finale. With 3 laps of the larger circuit and 10 of the smaller circuit around Killorglin. The average speed again was a massive 46.1kph. Like a good Belgium Kermesse! As is the norm for most years a small group clipped off the front and was nearly caught on the line apart from 3 riders who sprinted for the honours. There was no General Classification changes with all our rider finishing in what was a depleted and tired group of riders. 114 riders finished out of the 167 who started on Friday. Our own Daire Feeley finished best of the Team with 4th on General Classification, 3rd in Points Classification, 2nd U23 Classification, 4th KOH Classification 2nd Stage 1, 2nd Stage 3 & Combativity Award on Stage 3. David Brody finished 35th on General Classification and Stephen Murphy finished 49th General Classification with Darragh Bailey DNF.
Photo courtesy of Brendan Slattery
We would like to thank our sponsors The Athlete Clinic, O’Neill Cycles, Bike Clinic and Power2Max for supporting us and making things happen for our riders. Next stop for us is the Tour of the Reservoir in England in 3 weeks. Between then and now its some R’n’R and domestic racing. Thanks to Ras Mumhan and all the people who make bike racing happen on the ground week in week out. Our Team & Program still has no main sponsor and we can assure you or your business the strictest of confidence in discussions. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +353 87 2453114
See you on the Road