Commentary from Stage 2 2011

Stage 2

11.00: Good morning and welcome to the live coverage from stage two of the An Post Rás. The riders have lined out in Portumna for stage two of the race. It's overcast but dry, although there's a high chance of rain today. There are also some very strong winds, so it's going to be a tough day. It could also be a more decisive one than the relatively flat route suggests.

Rapha Condor Sharp rider Dean Downing leads overall after beating Sam Bennett (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) and the rest of the peloton yesterday. 

11.05: Two riders have clipped away from the main bunch: Martyn Irvine (Giant Kenda) and Kohei Uchima (Italy D'Angelo & D'Antenucci). 

More riders are now clear and bridging across to the two leaders. 

11.08: The gap is now 25 seconds. Those in the move are Cameron Karwowski (New Zealand National Team), Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Stuart Shaw (Australia Drapac Cycling), Mark McNally (Belgium An Post Sean Kelly), Hector Gonzalez (Greece KTM Murica), Kohei Uchima (Italy D’Angelo & D’Antenucci), Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) and Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge). 

11.14: There are now 17 riders chasing eight, these are slightly ahead of the main field. 

11.17: The gap is 29 seconds to the peloton, which has caught that chasing group. 

11.21: Two riders have attacked in pursuit of the leaders. They are Remi Sarreboubee (France AVC Aix en Provence) and William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint). They have been joined by John Dempsey (Donegal LK Bikes). 

The bunch has sat up. 

11.25: The bunch has completely sat up and is one minute 58 back. The three chasers are 40 seconds away from the eight leaders, and will chase hard to join up. 

11.30: It's difficult for this small group, who are struggling into a strong headwind. They are one minute 18 seconds behind now, so they are losing ground to the leaders. 

11.33: We are with the three chasers. One of them called the car alongside and asked how many were up ahead. "Eight," he was told. His response was a swear word; its going to be hard work for the three to get up there. 

They are one minute 12 back, so are making some slight inroads into the lead. 

11.40: The three chasers have sat up, realising the task is impossible. 

There are some other riders trying to get clear of the peloton, which is over three minutes back. They have picked up Dempsey and Sarreboubee. 

11.44: They have been mopped up by the peloton, leaving the original eight man group clear. Bjergfelt has persisted for now. 

11.50: Bjergfelt has finally decided to call it quits, and has gone back to the bunch. Our mobile internet connection is out of coverage so we'll update this as soon as possible. 

11.52: It's spitting rain at the moment, but nothing heavy. The bunch is three minutes 15 seconds back at this point, with two chasers just in front. Another two riders have started chasing but it's hard to imagine them closing such a big gap. 

11.54: One of those chasers has gone back, so we've now got three in pursuit of eight. They are Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda), William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint) and Christian Varley (Isle of Man Microgaming). Bjergfelt is clearly in a determined mood. 

11.57: The chasers are at 3 minutes 10 seconds; the peloton is at 3 minutes 35. 

12.04: The chasers are slipping further back, going to 3 minutes 41 behind. Sixteen riders have got across to them, so there are 19 chasing the eight up front. 

12.07: There are further splits in the peloton. We'll give you more details when things settle down a little. 

It's raining now, but it's just a shower. 

12.11: Correction - we have gone back and Downey, Bjergfelt and Varley are continuing to chase. Information coming over race radio was somewhat confusing. There's a large 19 man chase group coming across to them. 

12.13: The three chasers are 2 minutes 52 seconds behind the leaders; the larger chase group is at three minutes 15 seconds. 

Further back, the group has broken into several parts due to the wind. It's going to be a savage day. 

12.26: The trio were caught by 27 others, so there's now a huge 30 man chase group. The yellow jersey Dean Downing is further back, and chasing. Those in this chase group are: Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda), David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Yin Chin Wang (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Lachlann Norris (Australia Drapac Cycling), Mark Cassidy (Belgium An Post Sean Kelly), Ronan McLaughlin (Belgium An Post Sean Kelly), Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post Sean Kelly), Erwan Brenterch (France AVC Aix en Provence), Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence), Bob Rodriguez (France AVC Aix en Provence), Remi Sarreboubee (France AVC Aix en Provence), Jakob Steigmiller (Germany Thuringer Energie), Bernardo Riccio (Italy D’Angelo & D’Antenucci), Yuriy Agarkov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Maksym Vasyliev (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Menso de Jong (USA Wonderful Pistachios), Ben Greenwood (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), Casey Munro (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), Simon Richardson (Britain Sigma Specialized Team), Thomas Copeland (Britain Sigma Specialized Team), Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint), James Sampson (Britain Motorpoint), William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint), Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint), Christian Varley (Isle of Man Microgaming), Michael Fitzgerald (Carlow Dan Morrisey Better Bld) , Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles), Patrick Clarke (Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) and Simon Kelly (Meath 53 Degrees North Optimun). 

12.29: The roads are very exposed and the winds are really strong, the 30 chasers are lined out and getting it hard. Echelons are starting to form, really superb racing going on. 

12.32: This large group is three minutes behind the leaders. The yellow jersey of Dean Downing is in a group of eight, four minutes 45 seconds back... 

12.42: The riders in that chase group have covered 60 kilometres; those up front have done a little more. The gap between the two groups is two minutes 30 seconds. The yellow jersey of Downing is two minutes further back. Yesterday's runner-up Sam Bennett is also losing ground; not sure yet where he is. 

12.49: Kohei Uchima (Italy D'Angelo & D'Antenucci) is being dropped by the leaders. 

12.51: The 30 man chase group has increased to 40; we hear that Bennett is in there. 

It remains really windy. Hector Gonzalez (Greece KTM Murica) has now been dropped from the front group, so there's six remaining out ahead. 

13.10: The 40 man chase group is two minutes 15 seconds behind?.the chase group with Downing and Bennett was closing up to that group, and so the cavalcade was pulled out so they didn't gain any assistance. We are waiting for a new time check. 

We are currently in the Burren, having passed near Kinvarra. It's absolutely stunning here, raw nature. It's also very exposed and the winds are whipping up the foam on the waves. Great day for surfing, tough day for bike racing. 

13.15: The 40 man chase group is 2 minutes 15 seconds back; Downing's group is 3 minutes 30 in arrears, so he's got a battle on his hands. He said yesterday that the team were primarily chasing stages here, feeling that they didn't have a rider for the overall. Even so, he would like to defend his jersey today if at all possible. 

13.25: The chase continues as the riders head towards Corkscrew Hill. 

13.30: Downing's group has successfully bridged across to the chasers. Bennett is also there. 

13.36: We have gone on to the climb of Corkscrew Hill - it's really windy here. 

Downing's big chase group is at 3 minutes and 2 seconds. The riders have covered over 85 kilometres of the day's 164 kilometres, just over halfway there, although they will have felt like they have done a lot more due to these conditions. 

13.55: On Corkscrew Hill, Irvine was first to the top ahead of Shaw, McNally and Karwowski. Robin Kelly was dropped on the climb but got back on after. 

Tim Barry jumped clear of the group behind and picked up sixth on the climb. 

KOM category 2 at Corkscrew Hill (km 92.7):

1, Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) 
2, Stuart Shaw (Australia Drapac Cycling) 
3, Mark McNally (Belgium An Post Sean Kelly) 
4, Cameron Karwowski (New Zealand National Team) 
5, Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge) 
6, Tim Barry (Carlow Dan Morrisey Better Bld) 

The yellow jersey group is at at three minutes ten seconds

13.58: Barry was reeled in by the large chase group afterwards. 

The strength of today's wind is illustrated by the average speed; after three hours, the riders have covered 96 kilometres. That's just 32 kilometres per hour! 

The yellow jersey group is now two minutes 25 back. The main bunch is 13 minutes 25 seconds behind!

14.13: There are eight riders ahead of the chase group now, having pushed clear of the others. They closing quickly on the leaders. They are Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda), Lachlann Norris (Australia Drapac Cycling), Ronan McLaughlin (Belgium An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly), Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Dean Windsor (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), Simon Richardson (Britain Sigma Specialized Team), Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint) and Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint). 

14.15: Gedminias Bagdonas (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) and James Sampson (Britain Motorpoint) have got across. They have been joined by Jakob Steigmiller (Germany Thuringer Energie). 

14.18: The eleven have joined the five leaders. 

14.19: They have all been caught by the yellow jersey group. That means that most of the race favourites are back together. 

14.29: A group of 13 riders is 20 seconds clear going through the feed zone. No names have been announced as yet. 

14.30: They are David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Stuart Shaw (Australia Drapac Cycling), Floris Goesinnen (Australia Drapac Cycling), Mark Cassidy (Belgium An Post M.Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly), Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post M.Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly), Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence), Bob Rodriguez (France AVC Aix en Provence), Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Dean Windsor (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), Simon Richadrdson (Britain Sigma Specialized Team), Wouter Sybrandy (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) and Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint). 

14.32: Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda) and Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint) are chasing that group. 

14.36: Downey and Horton have now been joined by Myron Simpson (New Zealand National Team), Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles) and Javier Benitez Pomares (Greece KTM Murica). 

14.37: Those five chasers are 50 seconds back, while Aaron Gate (New Zealand National Team), Ronan McLaughlin (Belgium An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) and James Sampson (Britain Motorpoint) are a further 20 seconds behind. The jersey group is one minute 20 seconds back. 

14.40: The two chase groups have merged, making it eight in between the leaders and the yellow jersey group. 

The eight chasers are at 50 seconds. Downing has bridged across along with Shane Archbold (New Zealand). 

14.47: That ten man group is riding very well and is just 35 seconds back at this point. 

14.54: After 125 kilometres of racing, the two groups have merged to make it a 23 man front group. That's quite a comeback from Downing after being far back earlier in the stage. 

14.58: The riders are riding in strong winds towards the finish. They have 32 kilometres left. 

15.03: Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) has clipped away. He has been joined by Stuart Shaw (Drapac Procycling) and James Sampson (Motorpoint), and they are trying to build a bigger lead. 

Sampson has gone backwards and been replaced by Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly). The yellow jersey Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp) has also got across, as has Shane Archbold (New Zealand). 

The five leaders are 15 seconds clear. 

15.12: The gap is up to 20 seconds after 137 kilometres of racing. 

15.15: It's now 28 seconds at the 25 kilometre to go board, so things are heading in the right direction for the leaders. The Irish riders have missed the move. 

15.20: The gap has now jumped up to 50 seconds, so they are looking good, Can Downing take a second win?

They have 20 kilometres to go now? 

15.22: The gap has gone up to one minute 4 seconds..

15.29: The gap has dropped to 50 seconds. 

15.32: The yellow jersey has been distanced and sat up; he's waiting for the chasers. 

The gap has now gone back to one minute and ten seconds. 

15.40: The riders have ten kilometres to go, and the four leaders remain out front. They are now 1 minute 50 seconds clear, so it looks almost certain that the winner - and new yellow jersey - will come from this group.

15.47: The leaders are inside the final five kilometres, and have a lead of two minutes. There's a big crowd here at the finish in Kilrush, and the sun has come out?

15.51: The four riders remain together, and are heading towards the finish?

15.55: They are inside the final two kilometres; the four are still together... 

15.56: Pakhtusov tried to attack but his move was covered... 

15.57: Here they go.... 

An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly rider Gediminas Bagdonas takes the stage! He is quickest in the sprint to the line, beating Archbold and Shaw. 

16.01: Great finish...the chasing group came in well over a minute back, and so the jersey will change hands. Bear with us while the judges work things out... 

16.05: Archbold takes the jersey , ending the day level on time with Bagdonas but ahead on countback. The chase group came in one minute 25 seconds back, with Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) just ahead of it. Overnight leader Dean Downing drops from first to fifth overall. McLaughlin is best of the Irish in eighth, while team-mate Mark Cassidy is tenth. 

Here's today’s results: 


An Post Rás (2.2) stage 2: Portumna to Kilrush:

1, Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) 164 kilometres in 4 hours 54 mins 18 secs 
2, Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) 
3, Stuart Shaw (Australia Drapac Cycling) 
4, Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) all same time
5, Ronan McLaughlin (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) at 1 min 23 secs
6, Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint) at 1 min 25 secs
7, Myron Simpson (New Zealand National Team) at 1 min 27 secs
8, Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles) 
9, Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence) 
10, Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) 
11, Dean Windsor (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) 
12, Bob Rodriguez (France AVC Aix en Provence) 
13, Wouter Sybrandy (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) 
14, Floris Goesinnen (Australia Drapac Cycling) 
15, Mark Cassidy ( Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) all same time

Primes: 

KOH category 2 at Corkscrew Hill (km 92.7):

1, Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) 10 pts 
2, Stuart Shaw (Australia Drapac Cycling) 8
3, Mark McNally ( Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) 6 
4, Cameron Karwowski (New Zealand National Team) 4
5, Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge) 3
6, Tim Barry (Carlow Dan Morrisey Better Bld) 1

An Post primes: 

Lehinch: 

1, Gediminas Bagdonas ( Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) 

Quilty: 

1, Gediminas Bagdonas ( Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) 

Cuchulainn Crystal county rider: 

1, Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles) 4 hours 55 mins 45 secs 
2, Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge) 
3, Neill Delahaye (Meath Dectek) both same time

International team: 

1, Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly, 14 hours 45 mins 44 secs
2, New Zealand, 14 hours 45 mins 44 secs
3, Britain Motorpoint, 14 hours 47 mins 13 secs

County team: 

1, Dublin Eurocycles, 15 hours 20 mins 54 secs
2, Carlow Dan Morrissey Better Bld, 15 hours 26 mins 43 secs
3, Mayo Western Edge Medical, 15 hours 48 mins 33 secs


General classification after 2 stages: 

1, Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) 8 hours 42 mins 11 secs
2, Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) same time
3, Stuart Shaw (Australia Drapac Cycling) at 4 secs
4, Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) same time
5, Dean Downing (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) at 1 min 17 secs
6, David McCann, at 1 min 24 secs
7, Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint) at 1 min 25 secs
8, Dean Windsor (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) same time
9, Ronan McLaughlin (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) at 1 min 27 secs
10, Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint) same time
11, Mark Cassidy (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) at 1 min 28 secs
12, Bob Rodriguez (France AVC Aix en Provence) at 1 min 31 secs
13, Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) 
14, Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence) 
15, Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda) all same time

Irish Sports Council Under 23: 

1, Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) 8 hours 42 mins 11 secs
2, Bob Rodriguez (France AVC Aix en Provence) at 1 min 31 secs
3, Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda) same time

Cycling Ireland category 2: 

1, Mark Gill (Dublin South Dublin Zilcom) 9 hours 6 mins 34 secs
2, Martin Cullinane (Waterford Comeragh) , at 2 mins 42 secs
3, Sean McFadden (Donegal LK Bikes) , at 3 mins 6 secs

Fitz Cycles county rider: 

1, Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles) 8 hours 43 mins 42 secs
2, Derek Finnegan (Meath Stamullen M. Donnelly) at 8 mins 14 secs
3, Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge) , at 8 mins 18 secs


Post office sprints: 

1, Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) 26
2, Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint) 21
3, Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) 19
4, Dean Downing (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) 15
5, Sam Bennett (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) 14

One4All Bikes4Work King of the Mountains: 

1, Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) 10
2, Stuart Shaw (Australia Drapac Cycling) 8
3, Mark McNally ( Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) 6

International team: 

1, Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly, 26 hours 9 mins 27 secs
2, New Zealand national team, at 8 secs
3, Britain Motorpoint, at 1 min 29 secs

County team: 

1, Dublin Eurocycles, 26 hours 44 mins 41 secs
2, Carlow Dan Morrissey Better Bld, at 6 mins 6 secs
3, Mayo Western Edge Medical, at 27 mins 43 secs


A full report will appear on this site later. That completes our live coverage for today, thanks for reading!

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