With the weather promised good and a bunch of good guys including riders and crew, Team iTap was always going to have a good An Post Rás. The compliment consisted of Colm Cassidy, David Brody (U23 Developement), Liam Dolan, Daire Feeley(U23 Developement) & Derek Joyce riding their bikes with Jonathan Gibson (Team Manager & Soigneur), Noel Feeley (Mechanic) and Christine O’Connor (Chef/Soigneur) providing the back up & support.
Dublin to Multyfarnham (145km) was always going to be a nervous start but with a long neutralised section it gave a chance to the riders to settle. We had a couple of mishaps on the stage with the unfortunate Liam Dolan coming to grief on a decent but he remounted and finished the stage. Considering his face plant the previous week at another race it was not the ideal start for him but to his credit he got on with it as any good athlete would do and finished out the stage. Daire Feeley and David Brody were also to get caught up in the big crash which happen at the 7km to go marker and this loaded both riders with GC time of over 2:30. Lucky for both there were no injuries. Colm Cassidy finished best on the day
Mullingar to Charliville was again another flat stage and the goal was to try get into the break of the day. Daire Feeley made the break of the day but as was the pattern for the week they weren’t given any room with the race being well controlled by the Continental Teams especially the Australian Development Team. Again all riders finished the stage. It proved to be a great day for Eoin Morton who won the stage from Bryan McCrystal. Great to see some working guys up there doing the business.
Stage 3 was to be flat until the finishing few kilometers. The Conor Pass was positioned very close to the end of the stage and would split the riders. It was another stage where we tried to get into the break but the control by the bigger teams wasn’t allowing anything away unless the compliment was right.
Todays stage was to be full of climbing and hard from the gun. It didn’t go accordingly to any plan and was the stage we most wanted to forget in the 2016 Ras. Colm Cassidy was to abandon the race courtesy of a lift to hospital in the ambulance with a fracture to his tibal platform and underwent surgery the following morning. His unfortunate moment came on the decent of Ballaghisheen Pass Category 1 where on one of the tight bends it all went pear shaped for him. Thankfully all is well with Colm and we’ll see him racing again in 2017. All of the other riders finished the stage and welcomed a warm hot meal cooked up by Team Chef Christine while mechanic Noel assessed the damage to equipment.
From Sneem to Clonakilty Stage 5 was always going to be an undulating day with 3 x Cat 3 and 2 x Cat 2 climbs and few others that should have been on the sheet. A very uneventful day on the road which only saw the bunch split up the climb for the first time through Clonakilty. A big group formed the bus early today and rolled in some 30 mins down.
Stage 6 was a day where we thought we might have had a chance at a stage win or even a podium. The DS had previewed & ridden the stage a few weeks before and with it being narrow, twisty and undulating it seemed like a good stage for us. Also being prior to the penultimate Stage 7 which encompassed Mount Leinster we hoped the main GC guys would give a break some room. Unfortunately for us on the day we ended up in a break with the wrong selection. With the stage being on tight roads we decided to push on and stay out of trouble and hope some of the leaders would come across. This did happen and in the last 30km a split coming off the front of the bunch off around 35/40 riders swollowed up the break and scuppered our attempt at the honours on the day. Good effort by all the team on the day and another stage in the bag
Today was always going to be a day for the GC guys to give it all. An they did. The race stayed together to the foot of Mount Leinster and went to pieces there after. Our highest placed rider ended up in the third group on the road and all riders finished well on what was a hard stage. Next stage up and final stage into Swords for the “Men of the Ras”
Last and final stage of the 2016 An Post Ras and the traditional finish into Skerries with a few laps of the town to add to the excitement. After a great week for Derek Joyce he was to crash on the final stage and end up finishing on a spare bike. After a super week from the 44 year old veteran rider it was a shame to have the spill on the last day. A credit to him on finishing and completing another An Post Ras. All of the other riders on the Team, David Brody, Liam Dolan & Daire Feeley all finished and a great credit to each and every one of the for the efforts. No podiums but gold stars for effort and commitment.
A Big Thank You
During the 8 Days of the Ras every team needed support the get it through till the end.
First off the people who assisted the riders this week were our mechanic Mr. Noel Feeley who keep all the equipment in top condition with not one mechanical. Noel was assisted by O’Neill Cycles Tuam who provide all the equipment and Moda machines to our riders. All of the spares and equipment arrived to the team in 100% condition for the start with Noel doing his usual sterling work keeping it that way.
Christine O’Connor was our soigneur, chef and equipment van driver and what a super job she did all week. At the end of every stage Christine had a hot meal prepared for the riders (better than most restaurants) and the equipment van unloaded with bags in rooms, directions for riders to rooms and massage room ready to go. For a women on her own she’d put most men to shame.
Last but not least the Team Manager and DS Jonathan Gibson who did a bit of everything from driving the team car int he stage, treating 5 riders legs every night until Colm went home, Team Manager Duties, pointing to where the coffee was as the riders landed for breakfast, repeating rollout times, hotel names, dinner times and generally living the same day over about 5 times over.
Our sponsors O’Neill Cylces Tuam for the equipment, The Bike Clinic Castlebar for the race food and race shoes, Galway Water for the teams water, Bright Promotions for our Team Polo Shirts and labeling, Telegael Teo for their finacial assistance and The Athlete Clinic for their Athlete Services throughout the 8 Day Event.
Final General Classification and all the Resuts Here
Team iTap is a development program for young bike riders who wish to become professional cyclist. We are always open to partnering and sponsorship proposals to assist in our support of these you riders. Why not join us in making these dreams a reality. Contact us now on +353 87 2453114 or irishTalentedAthleteProgram@gmail.com
See you on the Road!