A fine attacking performance saw Roscommon’s Daire Feeley jump from 78th to 58th place in the General Classification after finishing 18th amongst the large pack on stage two, which began in Westmeath this morning and concluded 183 kilometres down south to Charleville.
Picture Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
After about 25km of racing, King of the Mountains classification leader and eventual stage winner UCD Fitz Cycles rider, Eoin Morton, attacked and was soon joined by Feeley and Adam Armstrong (Louth Asea Wheelworx). The trio remained in the lead until the 55km mark before they were caught by the chasing pack. A game of cat and mouse followed and in the end Morton battled it out with Louth native, Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx), on the home straight to take his first ever stage win on the race in front of a packed Charleville main street. The duo broke away inside the 90 kilometre mark and worked tirelessly together, establishing a huge lead of over seven minutes. Despite the gap slowly dwindling to the chasing bunch headed by Matteo Cigala (Cork Aquablue), Morton and McCrystal were not to be denied. McCrystal attacked Morton but the Dubliner staved off the challenge, managing to accelerate away in the final kilometres to claim a famous victory.
Morton continues on a family legacy of Rás winners, following in the path of his father, Peter Morton who claimed a stage victory, just down the road in Mallow on the 1979 edition of the race.
Clearly delighted with the win, Morton admitted he was in total shock “Speechless. I have no words to describe it. A lad with a nine to five job takes a stage of the Rás. I have to go to work to teach a few kids on Monday. It’s incredible, I’m so happy.”
Morton and McCrystals’ control over today’s stage highlights the talent in the Irish cycling scene. Morton will hold on to the King of the Mountain jersey for a second day, while McCrystal was presented with the Irish County Rider title. Nicolai Brochner of Denmark’s team Riwal Platform took third finishing 11 seconds behind Morton’s impressive winning time of 4:14.15.
Sunday’s Stage one winner, Taco van de Hoorn of Dutch team, Join-S De Rijke retains the coveted leader Yellow Jersey for day three; while New Zealand national team rider, Dylan Kennett retains the Under 23 jersey as the riders head off tomorrow towards Dingle.
Stage three’s 133.2Km route will take the riders out towards Kerry with some tough mountain climbs before finishing at the Dingle Peninsula.
Daire Feeley placed 5th in the Dunboyne Castle County Rider Stage, he is 20th in the Under 23 Classification and his team are in 8th place.
Regular updates on this year’s An Post Rás are available on www.anpostras.ie or twitter.com/anpostras