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Odhran Doogan leads Daire Feeley during their long-range breakaway at the Mullingar GP, the fifth round of the Cycling Ireland National Road Series (Photo: The Belgian Project)

Daire Feeley (All human-Velo Revolution) on Sunday won the fifth round of the Cycling Ireland National Road Series, the Mullingar GP, to take the leader’s jersey in the season-long series with just one round remaining.

Feeley and runner-up Odhran Doogan (Giant Store Assen Cycling Team) went clear in a long-range breakaway only for the expected two-up battle between the duo to, literally, become deflated after Doogan suffered a puncture.

The duo rode very well together in the 128km race as, though they got away early and forged a gap, they were pursued aggressively all the way by a strong chasing group, which began to close in on them as the finish neared.

Behind them, Cian Keogh of Skyline Cadence proved best of the rest, for 3rd place, after leading in the chasing group, which got close to the two leaders on the final lap of the circuit before the gap crept out again.

Conn McDunphy (Skyline Cadence) was next, in 4th, with Luke Smith (Moynalty Cycling Club) 5th, Mark Dowling (All human-Velo Revolution Racing) 6th, John Buller (Banbridge Cycling Club) 7th and Evaldas Stankevicius (Greenmount CA) rounding out the top eight.

Though Doogan was able to stay with Feeley until the finish, thus making sure of 2nd place despite his late puncture, his front wheel flat scuttled his finishing effort, as Feeley beat him to the line.

“This is always a difficult race because of the circuit. It’s either up or down or you have a wind blowing in your face so you’re never really off the pedals,” Feeley said after his latest win.

“A lap in myself and Odhran got away. I was surprised we got away, and we established a gap of about a minute. I knew at that point when we got a minute it would either be a group coming across to us or we would stay away.

“I remember saying to him it’s going to be a long, long day out front. We kept our heads down and managed to hold on to the finish thankfully.

“Odhran, in fairness to him, he would have given me a good run for my money coming into the finish but he actually had a front wheel puncture so that took the edge off him coming to the line.”

Feeley now takes the lead in the overall series from George Peden (Team PB Performance), who wore the leader’s jersey on Sunday but did not figure at the front of the race.

“I didn’t even look at where I was in the overall standings, thankfully George didn’t have a good day today which put me back in the lead,” Feeley said.

“If you told me I would be in the leader’s jersey coming home from here today, and winning the race, I would have said you’re mad in the head but I’m happy out now anyway so. It’s a big bonus to have.”

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