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Daire Feeley may have missed out on winning stage 1 in Mayo, but he bounced back quickly to claimed the stage 2 afternoon TT

Sam Coleman has begun his second-year junior season at a rate of knots; a dominant win in France a couple of weeks ago followed by a strong aggressive display in Co Down last weekend, with another win and yellow jersey in Mayo today.

The AS Villemur rider went up the road early today on stage 1 at Rás Mhaigh Eo with Daire Feeley (VeloRevolution).

And while they eventually fell back to the chasing group, Coleman went clear again late in the stage – this time with Paul Kennedy (Team Skyline-Cadence) – and beat his rival in the sprint to the line.

Runner-up at the Mick Lally Memorial last weekend in Co Meath, James Delaney (Lucan CRC) was in the mix again today, placing 3rd on stage 1 at 32 seconds. He was followed by Feeley, Liam Crowley (UCD CC), Luke Smith (Moynalty CC) and Christopher Donald (Spellman Dublin Port), all in the same group at 35 seconds.

Paul Kennedy, left, and stage winner – and now yellow jersey – Sam Coleman during their stage 1 winning breakaway on Saturday’s opening stage at Rás Mhaigh Eo (Photo: Covey Wheelers Westport Cycling Club)

However, while Coleman and Kennedy gained over half a minute on the nearest chasers on this morning’s opening stage, the stage 2 TT this afternoon – 3.4km in Lecanvey Village – was a reminder, if one was needed, that the race is far from over.

Feeley may have been forced to settle for 5th this morning, some 35 seconds behind Coleman and Kennedy, but he bounced back in style by winning the afternoon TT.

He was just two seconds up on yellow jersey Coleman, who was 2nd in the TT, and seven seconds up on Niall McLoughlin (Amicale Cyclist Bisontine) in 3rd.

Last weekend’s winner at the Phoenix GP, Odhran Doogan (Caldwell Cycles), was 4th at 10 seconds, with Curtis Neill (Lyon Sprint Evolution) 5th at 12 seconds and Liam Crowley (UCD Cycling Club) placing 6th in the TT at 16 seconds.

While Kennedy started the TT – a favoured event for him – in 2nd place overall and equal on time with leader Coleman, he have up 16 seconds to the teenager in the race against the watch, which was perhaps a surprise.

However, though Coleman now goes into tomorrow’s final stage with the yellow jersey, a lot can happen on the road before the final general classification is decided.

Coleman now leads by 16 seconds from Kennedy, with Feeley in 3rd at 33 seconds. Then comes McLoughlin, at 40 seconds – still very much in contention to win overall – with Neill 5th at 49 seconds and UCD’s Crowley 6th on the same time.

With two stages in the legs today, and some 108km to come tomorrow, the race is very likely to split on the final stage. And while young Coleman is in the driving seat, defending yellow will be a challenge given the experience and power of some of the riders breathing down his neck.

Feeley, in particular, will be looking to keep the ball rolling and take his second and third wins of the season tomorrow, both in terms of the stage and the overall.

However, riders like Kennedy, McLoughlin – indeed any of those in the top 15 – could sweep all before them if they find themselves in the right breakaway tomorrow, when everything will be to play for.

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