|Dann Meijers Netherlands Delta Cycling Stage Seven Winner|
The penultimate stage of An Post Rás finished in the hands of the Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam team with Daan Meijers taking the win from teammate Jan Willem Van Schip. Stage five winner Regan Gough (An Post Chain Reaction) came home in third with Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team) finishing best of the Irish riders in fourth.
The heavens opened for day seven making the challenge even harder for the peloton. The riders faced 167.3 kilometres, taking them southeast from Donegal town through Northern Ireland and finishing in Ardee, Louth. Unlike the previous day, which emphasised the climbs, the seventh day featured flatter roads with twisting turns, promising for a more open race.
Despite the heavy rain, early on a leading group of six including Jake Gray (Ireland National Team), Dexter Gardias (Britain Bike Channel Canyon), Marc Potts (Britain Neon Velo Cycling Team), Samuel Jenner (Australia National Team), Angus Fyffe (Ireland National Team) and eventual second Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) set a nice pace in front. This group worked hard to maintain a decent gap before the peloton reeled them in at 64 kilometres.
From here, the race came alive with fourteen riders going clear by fifty seconds. At 82 kilometres, a group of five riders including Darragh O’Mahony (Ireland National Team), Regan Gough (An Post Chain Reaction), Jan Willem Van Schip (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam), Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and Tilen Finkst (Slovenia ROG Ljubljana) clipped away to make their mark on the race. Despite the wide open and straight roads, making the break visible for the chasing group, this leading group asserted their dominance on the stage.
With the rain continuing to pour, it was down to who could keep up the pace. The breakaway group really knuckled down to the challenge, pushing on to go clear by two minutes and thirty seconds. At five kilometres to go, it was the two Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam team members in the group who pushed away. Turning into Ardee, Jan Willem Van Schip and Daan Meijers rolled in together, arms aloft, with Meijers just edging out his team mate to take the win.
Speaking after their hard-fought victory, Meijers said:
“It was a very tough stage with the weather conditions. Great team work ensured we won the stage in the end.”
Stage five winner Regan Gough (An Post Chain Reaction) had another superb race to finish in third while Richard Maes of Killarney CC was First County Rider home in ninth.
Maes spoke of his delight in finishing within the top ten:
“I went as fast as I could just to keep the speed up. Thankfully it paid off - I just put my head down and went as quick as I could to the line.”
With one stage left to go, James Gullen remains at the top of the general classification, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) and retains the King of the Mountains jersey. Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) remains the best of the county riders and tops the county rider table while Michael O’Loughlin (Britain Team Wiggins) heads the Under 23 table.
Regular updates and action footage of this year’s An Post Rás are available on www.anpostras.ie, twitter.com/anpostras and also on www.facebook.com/anpostras
|Richard Maes , Kerry Killarney 1st. County Rider Stage Seven|