Wouter Mol of Dutch team, Join-S De Rijke, took the win on today’s stage five of An Post Rás, marginally edging out Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform) and Irishman Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles.ie) at the line.
Today’s tough 148 kilometre trek saw the riders depart from Sneem and take on five climbs including the daunting category two climb of Caha Pass at the 44 kilometre mark before they reached the finish line in Clonakilty.
Soon after the off, the first attack, comprised primarily of county riders pulled away but their attempts proved futile as the peloton kept composure and reeled them in. The next attack was by Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) and Mark Dowling (ASEA-Wheelworx), but Dowling was unable to hold on and Shaw was on his own ahead of the bunch. Eight riders in pursuit, soon joined Shaw and together, the lead pack established a 22 second gap as they arrived into Kenmare.
Just before the Caha Pass, the peloton had closed the gap on the leaders, and the group was level as they set out for the climb. Only moments after the recapture, Eddie Dunbar (Ireland National Team) made a break and built a 13 second lead as he powered up the mountain.
By 50 kilometres, Dunbar had been caught as the riders approached the Glengarriff Climb. Dunbar was persistent though and responded with another attack, establishing a seven second lead, but once again was eventually swallowed back in to the bunch
With 70 kilometres down, the peloton had fragmented. Coming off the category three climb at Glenlough, Ike Groen (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke) made a move, and Conor Dunne (Britain JLT Condor p/b Mavic) went after him. Heading into Skibbereen, the two leaders built a 45 second lead over a chase group in quick pursuit.
On the 116 kilometres mark, as the riders wound through to Glandore, the lead pair was caught and a ten man pack assembled, comprising Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Wouter Mol (Netherlands Join-S De Rijke), Sean Lacey (Cork Aquablue), Ronan McLaughlin (Ireland National Team), Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark Riwal Platform), Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles), Sean McKenna (Cork Aquablue), and Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction).
With 25 kilometres to go, Matthew Holmes (Britain Madison Genesis) joined the lead group who held at a healthy one minute 22 second advantage over the peloton. One rider punctured out, but this group maintained their advantage right into the town of Clonakility where the whole race fragmented on McCurtain Hill.
Inside the last 12 kilometres the lead breakaway split to six including three Irish riders.
It was an uphill sprint to the line, but Wouter Mol pushed through to take the stage win and the Dutchman admitted it had been a very tough stage on the legs.
“It was a hard stage today. There were a lot of attacks in the beginning, and a lot of fighting to get to the finish but I’m happy I had the legs to get to the line first.”
Responsible for commanding a large portion of the chase pursuits, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) crossed the finish line just 27 seconds down on the stage winner to retain the yellow jersey by two seconds.
It was another superb performance by today’s third place stage winner, Eoin Morton. Working together with teammate, Ian Richardson (Dublin UCD Fitz Cycles), who extended his Irish County Rider Overall lead, the pair proved the standard of the Irish county riders to be more than competitive with the pros. Morton spoke of his delight at his performance.
“I’m over the moon. To finish in third spot and also to have claimed a stage win already is a dream for me. I’m delighted.”
Going into day six, Aaron Gate (An Post Chain Reaction) holds on to the green points jersey, while Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) stays top of the U23 Rider competition and moves into fourth in the general classification. Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) was named King of the Mountain.
Stage six will roll out from Clonakility and see the riders traverse 158.6 kilometres including three category three climbs at Windy Gap, Rathcormack Mountain and Knockroe, before crossing the line in Dungarvan.
Regular updates on this year’s An Post Rás are available on www.anpostras.ie or twitter.com/anpostras