|Michael O'Loughlin Britain Team Winnins Best Ubder 23 Rider|
The rain stayed away on the final day of An Post Rás 2017 as JLT Condor’s James Gullen secured the general classification. Despite no stage wins, Gullen was very consistent throughout the week, securing the yellow jersey on stage five and defending it right up to the final stage. Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz was the stage eight winner in Skerries, giving the An Post Chain Reaction team their third stage win of the week. The 22-year-old from Poland added the stage win to his King of the Mountains jersey. Kasperkiewicz came home the strongest from Samuel Jenner (Australia National Team) in second and Jerome Mainard (France Armée de Terre) in third.
After a dismal day of rain yesterday, the riders welcomed the dry weather for what was the shortest route of the week at 129.4 kilometres. The final stage took the riders along similar roads as in recent years; heading through Nobber, Navan, Kentsown, Duleek and over Bellewstown (Cat Three), Snowtown Hill/Harbourtstown (Cat Three) and Ringfort View (Cat Three) before being welcomed by a huge crowd in Skerries. The route took the peloton around the finishing circuit three times, with the riders making three climbs over Black Hills before the ceremonial finish.
Shortly after the 12.30pm start, eight riders went clear for a short time before being reeled in by the peloton. The bunch travelled well together until 48.2 kilometres where a lead group of twenty including Eoin Morton (Ireland National Team), Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), James Davenport (Cork Strata3/Velo Revolution), Conn McDunphy (Donegal Voodoo Performance), Darnell Moore (Down Bikehouse), Seán O’Malley (Mayo Westport Towers Bar Covey), Felix English (Westmeath Team Planet X Carnac) and Keith Finn (Westmeath Team Planet X Carnac) went away by fifty five seconds.
From the leading group, it was Sean McKenna (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) who took Bellewstown (Cat Two), Ringfort View (Cat Three) and Black Hills (Cat Three) whilst stage three winner Michael Storer claimed Snowtown Hill/Harbourtstown (Cat Three).
Coming into Skerries for the first of three laps of the finishing circuit, the gap between the leaders and attackers closed with the two groups merging into one. From here, four riders including Mark Dowling Cork Strata3 / VeloRevolution), Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Michael Storer (Australia National Team) and Samuel Jenner (Australia National Team) pushed on to establish a thirty two second gap.
General classification leader, James Gullen’s JLT Condor team chased behind in search of securing the overall win. The final two takes of Black Hills went to Michael Storer (Australia National Team) and King of the Mountains winner, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction).
Celebrating his biggest win of his career, yellow jersey winner, James Gullen said:
“It’s brilliant to win a race like this. You really have to rely on your team mates to get the overall win. They kept me going so this win is all down to them.”
Commenting afterwards, King of the Mountains and stage eight winner, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz said:
“I want to say a huge thank you to my team mates. We did this together and it was a fantastic week for all of us.”
It was a superb stage for county rider Mark Dowling (Cork Strata3/VeloRevolution) who finished the best of the Irish riders in fourth.
The ceremonial finish saw the presentation of the overall winners from the week. Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) won the points classification, Michael O’Loughlin (Britain Team Wiggins) won Under 23 Rider whilst Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) took Irish County Rider. The final stage winner, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (An Post Chain Reaction) was crowned King of the Mountains. Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam were overall team winners whilst Cork Strata3/VeloRevolution were best of the county teams.
|Daire Feeley Galway iTap First Irish Rider|
|James Gullen Britain JLT Condor Race Winner|