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Team Skyline on the way to stage 1a TTT victory at Dornan Rás Mumhan, though it was the afternoon stage where the real damage was done

On the opening day of Dornan Rás Mumhan, any fears the new team time trial may conspire against many of the riders were swatted away by fast and furious afternoon road race where the real damage was done.

After just 70km of racing – from Castleisland to Knocknagoshel via Brosna – elastics had snapped through the field and many riders were pulled out on the circuit having fallen too far behind to be allowed continue.

The strongest riders in the winning breakaway – which lapped some of the back markers – gained the best part of a minute on the peloton. It was the frequency of the climbing – the ascent of 3km in Knocknagoshel tackled on each of the five laps – that put the cat among the pigeons, not to mention a final kicker of 600m to the line, just off the course, to finish.

Just one Irish rider made the cut in the breakaway – UCD Cycling Club’s Liam Crowley – as Britain’s George Kimber (Spirit TBW Stuart Hall Cycling) took victory, and the yellow jersey, from compatriot Dominic Jackson (Foran CT), Luke Tuckwell (Trinity Racing) and Tom Martin, guesting for All human-VeloRevolution this weekend.

Kimber pulled out a gap of three seconds on Jackson in the final kick to the line, with Tuckwell and Martin 3rd and 4th at seven seconds. Crowley took 5th, at 22 seconds, after putting in a great effort to bridge across to the move.

Dean Harvey (Trinity Racing) was best of the rest, leading in the first section of the peloton – just 26 riders – some 52 seconds down on Kimber, with Jamie Meehan (Cycling Ulster) and Odhran Doogan (Caldwell Cycles) right behind.

The winning move went clear just as the riders moved onto the finishing circuit, for five laps. Kimber, Tuckwell and Jackson made up the initial move. However, as they worked together and pulled out a gap of about 30 seconds, Martin and Crowley put in a big effort to get across the gap.

And once that five-man move was formed, they worked hard; their chances enhanced by the fact each was from a very strong team capable of blocking behind.

While the five leaders managed to stretch their advantage north of 50 seconds, there was plenty of chasing left in the bunch, meaning the gap began to stabilise before falling marginally.

The attacks were also being fired off the front of the peloton, which was shattering under the pressure being applied, with groups being pulled out at the end of each lap after falling too far behind.

Active in the many attacks off the front of the peloton were: Callum Salisbury (Cycling Club Isle of Man), Alex Beldon (Trinity Racing), Daire Feeley (All human-VeloRevolution), Will Perrett (Spirit TBW Stuart Hall Cycling), Ruairi Byrne (Cycling Leinster), Daniel Yon Hin (Dornan Blue) and Pierce Curtin (Killarney Cycling Club).

With 25km to go, and the gap to the leaders just under 40 seconds, the attacks off the front of what remained of the peloton were closed down and Caldwell Cycles were leading the chase.

On the penultimate lap, hopes that the breakaway may be caught were fading as they managed to extend their lead back to 50 seconds. Up front, Tuckwell was forcing the pace as Crowley was starting to look like he was feeling it most. However, Martin was quick to respond to Tuckwell’s efforts, which continued on the final lap.

Last time up the climb, on the run in to the finish, eventual winner Kimber stepped up to force things and he eventually began to stretch out the five leaders. Behind, Sam Coleman of the Cycling Ireland Junior Team put in a last gasp attack, but was closed down.

Earlier in the day, the opening TTT of 8.8km from Currow Village opened the race. It was won by Team Skyline by three seconds from Trinity Racing, with Foran CT 3rd at 11 seconds. The top three were followed by: Cycling Ulster, Cycling Ireland Juniors and Spirit TBW Stuart Hall Cycling, all at just over 12 seconds.

That result put Skyline’s US rider Liam Flanagan in yellow, with his team mates Conn McDunphy and Paul Kennedy in 2nd and 3rd on the same time. But that was all turned on its head in the afternoon; stage 1b winner Kimber now leading the race overall by just one second from Tuckwell.

Jackson – who won stage 3 of the race last year – is now 3rd overall at three seconds with Martin in 4th, at 13 seconds, and Irish rider Crowley 5th at 40 seconds. McDunphy, who suffered a mechanical today as the breakaway was going clear, is 6th at 55 seconds.

The race continues tomorrow with stage 2, which entails 114km of racing from Killarney to Sneem with 1,140m of elevation gain. That climbing includes the cat 1 Ballaghisheen Pass – some 6km in length from base to peak, and starting 33km into the stage. The 4km cat 2 Coomakista comes later, and is peaked some 44km from the finish.


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