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Darren Rafferty has been on fire since his arrival in France less than two months ago and he went out on a really high note today, above, with a big win in Grand Prix de Plouay (All photos by Coralie Bertrand Photographie)

Irish teenager Darren Rafferty has ended his racing stint in France in fine style today with a really powerful solo victory in Grand Prix de Plouay; the undercard event for the Bretagne Classic-Ouest-France pro race tomorrow.

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Rafferty (18) suffered several broken bones in a racing crash in Ireland in mid May. But he has since gone on an incredible run during his near two-month stint in France, with today the icing on the cake.

In the 110km Grand Prix de Plouay junior race he attacked from the gun and spent the race clear in what was initially a nine-man breakaway, with a chasing group getting clear of the bunch and going in pursuit of the leaders.

When the breakaway came down to a group of five in the closing stages, Rafferty made the cut. He then attacked those he was with about 3km from the finish and powered his way to the line.

Darren Rafferty was top of the podium again today, on what was his last race in France with Team 31 Jolly Cycles U19 (Photo: Coralie Bertrand Photographie)

He had plenty of time to fully celebrate his victory, in his last race in France with Team 31 Jolly Cycles U19, on the same slightly uphill finish used for last year’s European Road Championships.

On the line, Rafferty had 18 seconds in hand on those four riders he had attacked late in the race. After he crossed the line he was soon conducting interviews, in fluent French, with the local broadcast media.

Enzo Boulet (CC Plancoetin Junior) took the sprint for 2nd place from Maxime Rouxel (UC Briochine Junior), Thierry Pierre (OC Locmine) and Mathys Rondel (Sarthe Junior).

The first large group on the road was almost two minutes down on Rafferty and they were sprinting for just 14th place after the 160-rider peloton split to pieces on what was an undulating course.

This will bring you to the online broadcast video of Rafferty’s race – on Facebook

Rafferty’s big win today follows two stage victories and 2nd overall at Tour Junior Causses-Aigoual-Cévennes earlier this month. Since going to France he has also won the final yellow jersey in three stage races, including Tour of the Trambouze Valley in July.

Also in July, he won the four-stage Ronde sud Bourgogne, after claiming the stage 3 TT and the concluding stage 4 road race. And in June he won the three-stage Tour du Carmausin-Ségala, during which his team won the TTT.

He was also part of the Team 31 Jolly Cycles U19 line-up that won the junior TTT round of the French Cup last month.


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