Bennett Stuns Older Riders With Win; Richardson Retains Yellow
May 23, 2009, 22:21
Leading out the sprint from a long way out and holding off the top sprinters in the FBD Rás peloton, Sam Bennett stunned the field when he raced to victory on stage seven of the race today. The Tipperary Dan Morrissey rider is competing in his first Rás and is still five months short of his nineteenth birthday, yet he showed confidence in strength in beating Joachim Tolles (Germany Kuota Indeland), quadruple Tour de France stage winner Jann Kirsipuu (Norway Giant Veoila), former Belgian champion Niko Eeckhout (An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) plus 99 others.
It was the second Irish stage win of the race, following on from Paul Healion’s triumph yesterday. But, as Bennett said afterwards, it nearly didn’t happen. “Earlier in the week I believed I could do something big on a stage,” he stated. “But today I felt like packing the race. I just could not keep there. People were coming around me in the lineouts and everything, I just didn’t have it. Then in the last 25 kilometres I came back around, saw the opportunity there and had a go for it.
“It wasn’t fatigue, but just things got to me...it has been constant rain every day this week. Then the sun came out then and brightened things up for me.”
The Carrick on Suir rider had previously placed sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth on stages; that was in itself notable for someone so young, but he had given the impression that he was not really satisfied with the lesser placings. Today everything worked out just right. “The last kilometre was nerve-wracking,” he said. “Everybody was up for it...as it was such a flat stage, everybody had it at the end and were trying to push their way in. There was a lot of contact.
“I had Kirsipuu’s wheel and just held it then until inside the last 300 metres. I said I was going to jump a bit earlier today and I did. The different was the timing; where I was today, I knew that if I had it, I would be able to beat them. It worked out perfectly.”
Race leader Simon Richardson had a relatively stress-free day. Although many riders tried to get clear early on, things settled down after Stephen Barrett (Ireland National Team) attacked approximately 26 kilometres after the start in Castlebar. Richardson’s Rapha Condor team set a constant tempo, controlling any attempted attacks and then bringing back the leader towards the end.
There were no real moments of panic. However he didn’t want to take anything for granted as regards the overall victory he could take tomorrow evening. “Today was fine, but my nerves are really starting to kick in,” he said. “The team is still riding pretty strongly and that is the biggest advantage I can have, really. We’ll see how things go.”
Barrett is a former hurler and is relatively new to cycling, having taken it up a couple of years ago. The Fermoy man is the current Irish kilometre champion and is riding his first FBD Insurance Rás. His attack came approximately 26 kilometres into the stage and saw him out front for over 110; even though the gap was never such that a stage win looked likely, he enjoyed the experience regardless.
“Today was good. The bunch stalled at about 20 or 30 kilometres into the race and I said I’d just give it a crack then. I got a gap straight away,” the 24 year old said. “I had my manager Tommy [Evans] on the earpiece. He told me it was18 seconds, 30 seconds and then it went out to a minute. I was like, ‘okay, looks like we are here for the day.’ After that I plugged away pretty well for two and a bit hours. I was happy, it was nice to be out in front and get a bit of wind in the hair.”
The stage result means that race leader Richardson has just one more day to go. He’ll be hoping for a sprint finish, and so too will be Sam Bennett. “I will try to do the same again tomorrow if I can,” he said . “I can’t be greedy, though...I’m happy enough with what I have done anyway. After that, my plan for the rest of the year is to target the nationals – I will definitely go for something there, if at all possible – and then I will be going over to VC La Pomme in July for a trial to try to get into the team. I will hopefully be signed by them and go back next year, and maybe have a win or two over in France.”
How it unfolded:
It was a damp start to the penultimate stage of the FBD Rás, although the weather would brighten up as the 150 kilometre stage to Clara progressed. 141 riders signed on in Castlebar, with four missing from the lineup – they were Adam Armstrong (Ireland Development U23), Bert Roesems (Australia Cinelli-Down Under), Mark Dowling (Dublin Zilcom-South Dublin) and David Brennan (Mayo Castlebar WesternEdge).
Roesems had been fourth overall in the general classification and so his withdrawal was a blow to the Cinelli team.
Patrick Clarke (Mayo Castlebar WesternEdge) attacked immediately after the start. Following his recapture a number of other short-lived moves went, including an effort by Peter Hawkins (Dublin IRC Ushers Insulations), Russell Downing (Britain Candi TV Marshalls) and Seán Downey (Ireland National Team), plus a subsequent attempt by Dale Appleby (Britain Candi TV Marshalls), Ray Clarke (Kerry Total Cleaning Supplies), - David Fletcher (Britain Halfords Bike Hut), Paidi O'Brien (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly), Matthew Stephens (Britain C'Shire Sigmasport), Keith Gater (Waterford Comeragh CC) and Downey.
A persistent Downey went again, combining with James Sampson (Britain Candi TV Marshalls) and Keith Gater (Waterford Comeragh CC). They too were reeled in, as was a longer solo move by Pete Williams (Britain CandiTV Marshall’s Pasta).
An attack finally stuck when Stephen Barrett (Ireland National Team) went approximately 26 kilometres after the start. His team-mate Sean Downey and James Sampson (Britain CandiTV Marshall’s Pasta) tried to bridge up after a few kilometres, but were unable to stay clear.
Barrett pressed onwards, covering 44.8 kilometres in a tailwind-assisted first hour and, at Castlerea (km 62) he had a lead of just over a minute. His advantage stayed relatively constant from that point on, reaching one minute and 24 seconds over the Rapha Condor-led peloton after approximately 110 kilometres. It then started to drop as the peloton ramped up the speed, and he was finally caught with about ten kilometres to go.
Several riders tried to clip away between there and the finish but a bunch gallop was inevitable. Most were anticipating a showdown between riders such as Jaan Kirsipuu (Norway Giant Veoila), Niko Eeckhout (An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly), points leader Russell Downing (Britain CandiTV Marshall’s Pasta), Nicholas Walker (Australia Cinelli-Down Under) and Paul Healion (Ireland National Team) but, while these took placings three through to seven, another rider would stun the field by beating all these older hands.
Sam Bennett (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) led out the gallop early and held off all the others behind, including runner-up Joachim Tolles (Germany Kuota-Indeland). It followed on from his four top ten placings this week and was a superb effort by a rider who is competing in his first FBD Rás and who is still 18 years of age.
Race leader Simon Richardson finished comfortably in the main bunch and moved to one day away from winning the race overall. The overall classification remained essentially unchanged, although Roesem’s withdrawal moved everyone outside the top three up one place, bringing David O’Loughlin (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton) into the top ten.
O’Loughlin retained his mountains jersey – an effortless task on what was a flat stage - while Mark McNally (Britain Halfords Bike Hut) remained in the white jersey as best young rider. Eeckhout took over the green jersey on countback, displacing Downing. Brian Kenneally (Meath Engraveit.ie/BDBC) and John Dempsey (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) continue to lead the county rider and second category classifications, while Britain Rapha Condor and Meath Engraveit.ie/BDBC are best international and county teams.
The final stage of the race is a 155 kilometre race from Clara to Skerries. It features four category three climbs, namely Pluckhimin, Cross of the Cage and two ascents of the Black Hills.
The distance includes two laps of a tough finishing circuit in Skerries and, as was the case in the past three editions of the race, huge crowds are expected there.
FBD Insurance Rás (2.2)
Stage seven, Castlebar – Clara:
1, Sam Bennett (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) 149.6 kilometres in 3 hours 21 mins 43 secs
2, Joachim Tolles (Germany Kuota-Indeland)
3, Jaan Kirsipuu (Norway Giant-Veolia)
4, Niko Eeckhout (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly)
5, Russ Downing (Britain Candi TV Marshalls)
6, Nicholas Walker (Australia Cinelli-Down Under)
7, Paul Healion (Ireland National Team)
8, Ian Wilkinson (Britain Halfords Bike Hut)
9. Barry Monaghan (AN DÚN Newry Whs. CC)
10, Luke Roberts (Germany Kuota-Indeland)
11, Alexander Gottfried (Germany Kuota-Indeland)
12, Daniel Clifford (Kildare Projector World)
13, Colm Bracken (Kildare Murphy Surveys)
14, Aidan Crowley (Meath Engraveit.ie/BDBC)
15, Stefan Ganser (Germany Kuota-Indeland) all same time
1, Sam Bennett (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) 3 hours 21 mins 43 secs
2, Barry Monaghan (An Dún Newry Whs. CC)
3, Daniel Clifford (Kildare Projector World) both same time
Cotter Hoose CI Category 2:
1, Daniel Clifford (Kildare Projector World) 3 hours 21 mins 43 secs
2, Shane Hurley (Dublin DTC Orwell Wheelers)
3, John Dempsey (Tipperary Dan Morrissey)
4, Graham Hurley (Dublin DTC Orwell Wheelers)
5, Sean McGreevy (An Dún Newry Whs. CC) all same time
1, Germany Kuota Indeland, 10 hours 5 mins 9 secs
2, Norway Giant Veoila
3, Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton
4, Denmark Designa Kokken
5, Britain Halfords Bike Hut, all same time
1, Tipperary Dan Morrissey, 10 hours 5 mins 9 secs
2, Meath Engraveit.ie/BDBC
3, Dublin Zicom South Dublin
4, Waterford Comeragh CC
5, Dublin KTM Winning Solutions, all same time
1, Simon Richardson (Britain Rapha Condor) 27 hours 32 mins 4 secs
2, Mads Christensen (Denmark Designa Kokken) at 2 mins 49 secs
3, Jan Barta (Austria Arbö KTM Junkers) at 3 mins 2 secs
4, Darren Lapthorne (Britain Rapha Condor) at 3 mins 24 secs
5, Ian Wilkinson (Britain Halfords Bike Hut) at 3 mins 29 secs
6, Chris Newton (Britain Rapha Condor) at 5 mins 29 secs
7, Russ Downing (Britain Candi TV Marshalls) at 6 mins 7 secs
8, David McCann (Ireland National Team) at 6 mins 9 secs
9, Alexander Gottfried (Germany Kuota-Indeland) at 6 mins 38 secs
10, David O'Loughlin (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) at 6 mins 53 secs
11, Rune Jogert (Norway Giant-Veolia) at 7 mins 17 secs
12, Josef Kugler (Austria Arbö KTM Junkers) at 7 mins 18 secs
13, Benny De Schrooder (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) same time
14, Mark McNally (Britain Halfords Bike Hut) at 7 mins 23 secs
15, Brian Kenneally (Meath Engraveit.ie/BDBC) at 7 mins 46 secs
U23 Rider Overall:
1, Mark McNally (Britain Halfords Bike Hut) 27 hours 39 mins 27 sec
2, Nicholas Walker (Australia Cinelli-Down Under) at 25 secs
3, Sam Bennett (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) at 33 secs
4, Jaco Venter (China Trek Marco Polo) at 41 secs
5, Stephen Halpin (Ireland Development U23) at 1 min 35 secs
CI Category 2 overall:
1, John Dempsey (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) 27 hours 49 mins 44 sec
2, Daniel Clifford (Kildare Projector World) at 23 secs
3, Chris Coyle (Mayo Castlebar WesternEdge) at 7 mins 31secs
4, Graham Hurley (Dublin DTC Orwell Wheelers) at 10 mins 53 secs
5, Chris Troy (Mayo Castlebar WesternEdge) at 16 mins 47 secs
County Rider Overall:
1, Brian Kenneally (Meath Engraveit.ie/BDBC) 27 hours 39 mins 50 secs
2, Sam Bennett (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) at 10 secs
3, Paul Griffin (Kerry Total Cleaning Supplies) at 1 min 38 secs
4, Philip Lavery (Dublin KTM Winning Solutions) at 4 mins 23 secs
5, Micéal Concannon (Kerry Total Cleaning Supplies) at 5 mins 15 secs
1, Niko Eeckhout (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) 70 pts
1, Russell Downing (Britain Candi TV Marshalls) 70
3, Jaan Kirsipuu (Norway Giant-Veolia) 67
4, Nicholas Walker (Australia Cinelli-Down Under) 66
1, David O'Loughlin (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) 55
2, Kit Gilham (Britain C'Shire Sigmasport) 45
3, David McCann (Ireland National Team) 38
4, Pete Williams (Britain Candi TV Marshalls) 30
5, Tom Southam (Britain Rapha Condor) 27
International Team Overall:
1, Britain Rapha Condor, 82 hours 45 mins 5 secs
2, Denmark Designa Kokken, at 9 mins 42 secs
3, Austria Arbo KTM Junkers, at 10 mins
4, Australia Cinelli Down Under, at 13 mins 25 secs
5, Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly, at 13 mins 28 secs
County Team Overall:
1, Tipperary Dan Morrissey, 83 hours 12 mins 58 secs
2, Meath Engraveit.ie/BDBC, at 1 min 22 secs
3, Kerry Total Cleaning Supplies, at 4 mins 37 secs
4, Dublin IRC Usher Insulations, at 5 mins 36 secs
5, Waterford Comeragh CC, at 25 mins 38 secs