Morten Hegreberg thundered to the Norway – Sparebanken Vest team’s second stage win in three days this afternoon when he triumphed in the penultimate leg of the FBD Insurance Rás, a tough 138 kilometre race from Rathdrum to Wicklow Town.
|Morten Hegreberg, Norway Sparebanken Vest , winning into Wicklow|
The 27 year old outsprinted Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital), Yanto Barker (Wales – Stena Line), John Tanner (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital), Irish rider Eugene Moriarty (Meath – Cycleways.com) plus nineteen others to equal team-mate Morten Christiansen’s win on Thursday.
Overall leader Chris Newton finished safely back in tenth place and looks set to become the first overseas rider to win two editions of the race, with just a one hour criterium tomorrow separating him from the final yellow jersey.
|Chris Newton, GB – Recycling.co.uk,|
The 31 year old showed no weaknesses on today’s gruelling stage, which featured seven categorised climbs including the first cat ascents of Slieveman, Sally Gap and Lugalla. He punctured on the climb of Sally Gap but was immediately given a wheel by a GB – Recycling.co.uk team-mate, thus quickly rejoining the main field.
The day was marked by a nine man breakaway group containing Morten Christiansen (Norway – Sparebanken Vest), Duncan Urquhart (Scotland), Mark Lovatt (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital), Steve Kenny (NE England), Andrew Roche (Tipperary – Worldwide Cycles), plus Irish quartet Denis Lynch (Cork – Kanturk), Philip Finegan (Dublin – Usher Insulations), Sean Lacey and Bill Moore (both Meath – M. Donnelly).
These remained together until the climb of Sally Gap, where Lynch, Lovatt and Urquhart forged ahead. They did what they could to hold off the chase group but were finally overhauled with just two kilometres to go. That set things up for the big sprint finish and Hegreberg’s fine win over Elliott, Barker and the rest of the front group.
Lovatt came in 21st but will have been delighted with his ride. He netted a huge 42 points today in KOH primes and overhauled polka-dot jersey wearer Julian Winn. With just tomorrow’s pancake-flat criterium in Dublin’s Phoenix Park to come, he simply needs to finish the race to carry off the mountains prize.
Barring accident or mechanical problems, Newton’s lead over Elliott appears to be enough for him to win his second Rás. He is 14 seconds clear of his rival, with Hegreberg almost two and a half minutes back in third. Barker and Sharman are next, while Tipperary Dan Morrissey rider Tim Barry is best Irishman overall in sixth.
However, even if Newton finishes in the same time as Elliott, the final sprint is important. The latter’s second place today means that just two points separate them in the green jersey classification.
How it happened:
Today’s penultimate stage of the FBD Insurance Rás was arguably the hardest of the race, with seven categorised climbs crammed into the138 kilometres between Rathdrum and Wicklow Town. Things would get off to a difficult start for the 158 riders left in the Irish tour, with the first of these climbs coming immediately after the start.
Following the category 3 Ballygannon Hill, won by KOM leader Julian Winn ahead of closest challenger Eugene Moriarty, Paul Healion (Dublin – Usher Insulations) and Stephen Gallagher (Ireland – Grant Thornton), Moriarty attacked and tried to build up a big lead before the day’s second climb, the cat 1 ascent of Slieveman (14.8 km).
The Listowel rider was joined by Duncan Urquhart (Scotland) but despite his help in opening up a seven second lead, the duo were hauled back soon afterwards.
Urquhart went again, taking Tino Haakman (Netherlands – Kennemerland) and Moriarty’s Meath – Cycleways.com team-mate Philip Cassidy for company. The trio worked hard to establish a 20 second lead over lone chaser Max Spirin (US – McGuire Cycles), with the bunch a further eight seconds back. However, a strong headwind on the climb made things difficult for the leaders, with Spirin being caught very quickly and Haakman – who had unshipped his chain - and Cassidy suffering a similar fate.
Winn jumped across from the bunch to Urquhart in an attempt to take top points at Slieveman but was caught about halfway up. The bunch duly split, with approximately 35 riders moving away from the others. This first group contained most of the strong riders, with the exception of Tommy Evans (Yorkshire Trinity Capital), who had punctured on the climb.
Despite his efforts earlier on, Winn took top points ahead of Hegreberg and Morten Christiansen (Norway – Sparebanken Vest), and did likewise on the category 3 Barnameelia immediately afterwards. Hegreberg was second here, ahead of Rob Sharman (GB – Recycling.co.uk). A regrouping then took place at the head of the race, with a peloton of approximately 80 riders forming.
The rolling terrain after the climbs proved more decisive than the hills themselves in creating a gap, with Morten Christiansen (Norway – Sparebanken Vest) and Sean Lacey (Meath – M. Donnelly) going clear. They were joined soon afterwards by Duncan Urquhart (Scotland), Mark Lovatt (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital), Steve Kenny (NE England), Denis Lynch (Cork – Kanturk), Philip Finegan (Dublin – Usher Insulations), Bill Moore (both Meath – M. Donnelly) and Andrew Roche (Tipperary – Worldwide Cycles) in a nine-man move.
By the time the front group had reached the 50 kilometre point they had a lead of 2 minutes 24 seconds, and on the road from Baltinglass towards Blessington this inched up to its maximum of 2 minutes 32 seconds. However while Lacey was the best placed rider overall, a full 6 minutes and 37 seconds behind Newton in 12th place, those in the bunch behind who were protecting their top ten placings grew concerned. So too the Wales Stena Line team of Julian Winn, who were aware that Mark Lovatt was riding his way into the King of the Hills jersey.
Just before the top of the category three climb of Lackan (85.1 kilometres), the gap had fallen to 1 minute and 11 seconds under the pressure of the chase. Lacey was in trouble here, slipping back temporarily, while Philip Finegan (Dublin – Usher Insulations) got top points ahead of Lovatt, Urquhart and Roche. The bunch were 59 seconds back.
Lovatt and Finegan pulled clear on the next climb, Ballyward, and were fifty metres ahead starting the descent down to Ballysmutton Bridge. However, Finegan got it wrong around a tight left hand bend, overshooting it and nearly going down. He stayed upright but appeared to lose some of his momentum, riding less strongly on the long, exposed run up to Sally Gap.
Approximately one third of the way up the climb the yellow jersey group had closed to within 40 seconds, and was splitting under the pressure of the chase. However, their progress was delayed slightly when Newton punctured, being forced to take a wheel from a team-mate in order not to lose too much time. He quickly rejoined while, up ahead, Lacey, Moore, Kenny and then Finegan started to lose pace with the leaders.
Lynch led over the top of the climb, ahead of Lovatt, and after the summit the two of these pressed on ahead with Urquhart. Behind, Hegreberg took Newton and Elliott over the prime line, the three followed by eight others. This octet comprised Morten Christiansen, Gabriel Rasch (both Norway – Sparebanken Vest), Yanto Barker (Wales – Stena Line), Stuart Gillespie (US – TIAA CREF), Robin Sharman (GB – Recycling.co.uk), John Tanner (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital), Roger Aiken (Louth – Safe Cycling), Tim Barry (Tipperary – Dan Morrissey) and Roche, who had been picked up by the chase.
Lovatt sealed his win in the King of the Hills competition when he took first on Lugalla, ahead of Urquhart and Lynch. The three continued to ride flat out, holding eighteen seconds of a lead for quite some time. The trio sped through Roundwood and then down the so-called Easy Devils Glen, where they actually increased their lead, bringing it back up to 30 seconds as they ripped through Ashford. Just seven kilometres remained at that point.
However, under the impetus of teams such as Norway – Sparebanken Vest the gap tumbled. The trio were caught with two kilometres to go, and when a counter-attack by leading under 23 rider Stuart Gillespie (US - TIAA CREF) was covered, the scene was set for a big group sprint. Elliott was aiming to take his second stage win of the race but in the end it was Hegreberg who had the jump today, crossing the line just ahead of his English rival and improving on his second place of 24 hours earlier. Wales – Stena Line rider Wales rider Yanto Barker was next in, sprinting home ahead of Tanner and Moriarty.
Newton was back in tenth, but happy. Barring a crash or mechanical problem, he should win the 2005 FBD Insurance Rás. ‘It is looking good for the overall,’ he said. ‘I hope it all works out okay tomorrow. This is a great race and it would be fantastic to win it again.’
‘The wind was a big factor today. There was a block headwind on the early climbs, so that made things very hard for guys to get away. My team was strong and rode well. There are a couple of young riders in there and while they were a bit inexperienced at the start of the race, they learned real quick as the week went on. Paul Manning helped a lot with that, and was going very well himself.’
‘My biggest fear today was a puncture or a crash. I had a flat on Sally Gap but my team-mate gave me his wheel and things worked out fine. When the break went there were a whole load of sub-plots going on; some riders further down in the overall were risking losing their place, so their teams had to ride. So too the Wales team, as they were trying to set up Julian Winn for the climbs. We had to calculate all that, to work out who would ride and play off that. It was pretty tactical, like chess on wheels.’
Frank Campbell, manager of the Yorkshire – Trinity Capital team, was happy with Lovatt’s performance. ‘It is a great day for us,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t a plan for Mark to go too early, the idea was that he would wait until the flatter roads in the middle of the stage and then see how things were. Normally Tommy (Evans) would have gone too but he punctured early on and lost out on his chance. But Mark had a great day in the mountains and took the climber’s jersey. ’
The 2005 FBD Insurance Rás continues tomorrow with an hour-long criterium around Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Racing starts at 3, with a programme of underage competition running earlier in the day.
FBD Insurance Rás stage 7, Rathdrum – Wicklow Town:
1, Morten Hegreberg (Norway – Sparebanken Vest) 138 kilometres in 3 hours 29 mins 36 secs
2, Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital)
3, Yanto Barker (Wales – Stena Line)
4, John Tanner (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital)
5, Eugene Moriarty (Meath – Cycleways.com)
6, Simon Kelly (Cork Nucleus)
7, Sigvard Kukk (Estonia – Kalev Chocolate)
8, Stephen Gallagher (Ireland – Grant Thornton )
9, Robin Sharman (GB – Recycling.co.uk)
10, Chris Newton (GB – Recycling.co.uk)
11, Conor Murphy (Ireland – Grant Thornton)
12, Roger Aiken (Louth – Safe Cycling)
13, Evan Oliphant (Scotland)
14, Tim Barry (Tipperary - Dan Morrissey)
15, Andrew Roche (Tipperary – Worldwide Cycles) all same time
Ballygannon Hill, category 3:
1, Julian Winn (Wales – Stena Line) 5 pts
2, Eugene Moriarty (Meath – Cycleways.com) 4
3, Paul Healion (Dublin – Usher Insulations) 3
4, Stephen Gallagher (Ireland – Grant Thornton) 2
Slieveman, category 1:
1, Julian Winn, 15 pts
2, Hegreberg, 12
3, Morten Christiansen (Norway – Sparebanken Vest) 10
Other: 5, Elliott, 6 pts
6, Gallagher, 5 pts
Barnameelia, category 3:
1, Julian Winn, 5 pts
2, Hegreberg, 4
3, Sharman, 3
Lackan, category 3:
1, Philip Finegan (Dublin – Usher Insulations) 5
2, Mark Lovatt (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital) 4
3, Duncan Urquhart (Scotland) 3
4, Andrew Roche (Tipperary – Worldwide Cycles) 2
Ballyward, category 2:
1, Mark Lovatt, 10 pts
2, Finegan, 8
3, Urquhart, 6
4, Roche, 4
5, Denis Lynch, 2
6, Christiansen, 1
Sally Gap, category 1:
1, Denis Lynch (Cork – Kanturk) 15 pts
2, Lovatt, 12
3, Roche, 10
4, Urquhart, 8
5, Hegreberg, 6
6, Newton, 5
7, Elliott, 3
Lugalla, category 1:
1, Mark Lovatt, 15
2, Urquhart, 12
3, Lynch, 10
4, Hegreberg, 8
5, Gabriel Rasch (Norway – Sparebanken Vest) 6
(Some KOM placings were missed by judges on climbs. The race organisation said this evening that this would not have changed the final finishing positions)
County rider (Cuchulainn Crystal): Moriarty
General Classification (George Plant trophy):
1, Chris Newton (GB Recycling.co.uk) 25 hours 31 mins 25 secs
2, Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital) at 14 secs
3, Morten Hegreberg (Norway – Sparebanken Vest) at 2 mins 21 secs
4, Yanto Barker (Wales – Stena Line) at 2 mins 42 secs
5, Rob Sharman (GB – Recycling.co.uk) at 2 mins 43 secs
6, Tim Barry (Tipperary – Dan Morrissey) same time
7, Gabriel Rasch (Norway – Sparebanken Vest) at 2 mins 59 secs
8, John Tanner (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital) at 5 mins 40 secs
9, Stuart Gillespie (US – TIAA CREF) same time
10, Kevin Dawson (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital) at 6 mins 19 secs
11, Sigvard Kukk (Estonia – Kalev Chocolate) at 6 mins 35 secs
12, Eugene Moriarty (Meath – Cycleways.com) at 6 mins 49 secs
13, Evan Oliphant (Scotland) at 6 mins 51 secs
14, Rostislav Krotky (Czech Republic – Elmarco KK Cube) at 6 mins 53 secs
15, Andrew Roche (Tipperary – Worldwide Cycles) at 6 mins 59 secs
1, Chris Newton, 83 points
2, Elliott, 81
3, Hegreberg, 71
4, Barker, 58
5, Tanner, 46
6, Moriarty, 43
Mountains classification (Brendan Carroll trophy):
1, Mark Lovatt (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital) 72
2, Julian Winn (Wales Stena Line) 60
3, Hegreberg, 56
4, Duncan Urquhart (Scotland) 53
5, Stephen Gallagher (Ireland – Grant Thornton) 38
6, Moriarty, 35
Under 23 classification (Ben McKenna Trophy):
1, Stuart Gillespie (US – TIAA CREF) 25 hours 36 mins 58 secs
2, Alex Coutts (Scotland) at 2 mins 53 secs
3, Paídi O’Brien (Ireland – Grant Thornton) at 7 mins 20 secs
4, Martin Snizek (Czech Republic – Elmarco KK Cube) at 7 mins 27 secs
5, Mark Cassidy (Meath – Cycleways.com) at 7 mins 52 secs
County rider overall (Cycleways):
1, Tim Barry, 25 hours 34 mins 8 secs
2, Moriarty, at 4 mins 6 secs
3, Roche, at 4 mins 16 secs
4, Roger Aiken (Louth – Safe Cycling) at 5 mins 57 secs
5, Simon Kelly (Cork Nucleua) at 7 mins 19 secs
CI second category rider:
1, Barry Meehan (Tipperary Worldwide Cycles) 22 hours 20 mins 43 secs
2, Mark McLeavey (Dublin Dundrum Shopping Centre) at 12 mins 50 secs
3, Tom Greene (Kildare Ena Loakman Remax) at 26 mins 15 secs
4, Stephen Enright (Dublin – Usher Insulation) at 39 mins 45 secs
5, Cormac O’Shea (Kildare – Murphy Surveyors) at 55 mins 37 secs
International team overall:
1, Yorkshire – Trinity Capital, 76 hours 43 mins 39 secs
2, Norway – Sparebanken Vest, at 3 mins 8 secs
3, GB – Recycling.co.uk, at 10 mins 18 secs
4, Ireland – Grant Thornton, at 14 mins 37 secs
5, Scotland, at 18 mins 17 secs
County team overall:
1, Tipperary Dan Morrissey, 77 hours 10 mins 19 secs
2, Meath Cycleways.com, at 1 min 47 secs
3, Dublin Usher Insulations, at 18 mins 25 secs
4, Cork – Kanturk, at 23 mins 17 secs
5, Cork – Nucleus, at 29 mins 38 secs