Commentary from Stage 3 2011

Stage 3

11.00: Good morning and greetings from the third stage of this year's An Post Rás. The riders have brighter skies this morning, although it remains windy. We are expecting the riders to have a tailwind to Limerick, and then a cross-to-headwind on to the finish in Castleisland. 

"It's not as strong as yesterday, but still strong enough to make an impact," says former national team director Alasdair McLennon

11.05: The wind was certainly a factor yesterday, as it smashed the race into pieces. Check out our race report for details of what went on, and have a glance over the results to see how much chaos was caused. It's pretty significant?

11.07: The racing has started, but things appear quiet for now. We are ahead of the race and relying on radio, but will drop back behind breaks when they are established. 

11.10: Steve Lampier (Britain Sigma Sport Specialized) has gone clear and has a slight lead. 

He's been caught

11.13: Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge) was in yesterday's break and is at it again; he's clear with Neil Delahaye (Meath Dectek). 

11.16: They’ve been caught and it’s all together once again. 

11.17: Erwan Brenterch (France AVC Aix en Provence) and Eugene Moriarty (Meath 53 Degrees North) have attacked. 

Peter Hawkins (Ireland Skoda Team) is four seconds back with the peloton 10 seconds behind. 

11.18: James McCallum (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) and Fraser Duncan (Dublin Eurocycles) have joined Hawkins. The leading duo are six seconds ahead of these chasers, with the peloton 20 seconds back. 

11.20: Those two groups have merged now, so there are five leaders. 

11.22: The peloton is 42 seconds back after approximately 16 kilometres of racing. 

It's windy, and the sun is out. This group will be pushed along by the tailwind. 

11.25: Former race winner Stephen Gallagher (Donegal Sportactive/Engraveit) has attacked and is chasing the leaders. 

11.28: He's made it across, so good ride by him. There are eight chasers: Oleksander Martynenko (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Dean Windsor (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) , Wei Kei Chang (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) , Michael Fitzgerald (Carlow Dan Morrisey Better Bld), Steven Lampier (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) , Neill Delahaye (Meath Dectek), Marcel Barth (Germany Thuringer Energie), Lachlann Norris (Australia Drapac Cycling) and Mark McNally (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly). 

11.30: Those chasers have been caught, so there's just six ahead of the peloton. They have a lead of 29 seconds after 20 kilometres. 

11.34: The gap has increased to 40 seconds. Conor Murphy was part of a group which tried to get across. They were reeled in, but he has persisted. 

The Dublin Eurocycles rider is 32 seconds back, with the main field 40 seconds behind. 

11.38: He's been caught. The six leaders have 30 seconds advantage after approximately 27 kilometres. They are speeding in the direction of Ennis, and will try to build as much of an advantage as possible in this tailwind-assisted stretch of road. 

11.41: Neil Delahaye is trying again. He’s 32 seconds back, with the bunch at 40 seconds. The Meath Dectek rider is in a determined mood this morning... good to see. 

11.43:He's been caught and now James Williamson (Britain Sigma Specialized), Wesley Murphy (UCD) and Tony Brady (Meath Stamullen M. Donnelly) are trying to bridge. 

They in turn are being chased by Conor Dunne (Ireland Team Skoda) , Lachlann Norris (Australia Drapac Cycling), Ralf Matzka (Germany Thuringer Energie), Tom Faiers (USA Wonderful Pistachios), Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Motorpoint) and Conor O’Shea (Galway Black Rose) 

11.46: Those two groups have merged, so there are nine chasers. 

11.48: They are 27 seconds back, with the peloton 43 seconds behind. 

11.51: The chasers are getting across - the nine riders are only 19 seconds back now, and are 21 seconds clear of the peloton. 

11.53: Now three others are trying to get clear of the bunch: Delahaye is away again, and has been joined by Oleksandr Sheydyk(Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) and Peter Williams(Britain Motorpoint). 

11.54: After 40 kilometres, the front two groups have merged. 

11.56: The three chasers are 16 seconds back, while the peloton is at 40 seconds. 

11.58: That trio bridges to make it 19 leaders. The main field is led by the An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly team, who are chasing hard and have brought the gab back down to 16 seconds. It looks like this could come back together. 

12.01: The gap is down to ten seconds, and there has been a big split in the main field. 

12.03: It's all back together - the break is recaptured. 

Aided by a tailwind, the riders covered 48 kilometres in the first hour. 

12.10: The bunch split with all that racing?.there's a minute between the two halves. 

12.18: It's still all together at the front. The riders are heading towards Limerick; once we get there, the wind will change and make it tougher for them? 

Don't forget that today's stage ends with the nasty climb of Crag Cave - that comes towards the finish and is going to blow things apart. 

12.23: The riders are passing Bunratty Castle now. They’ve travelled 63 kilometres thus far. 

12.26: Twelve riders are now 20 seconds clear: Aaron Gate (New Zealand National Team) , Floris Goesinnen (Australia Drapac Cycling), Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post Sean Kelly), Marcel Barth (Germany Thuringer Energie), Salvador Guardiola (Greece KTM Murica), Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), James McCallum (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint), Aaron Livsey (Isle of Man Microgaming), Christian Varley (Isle of Man Microgaming), Simon Kelly (Meath 53 Degrees North Optimun), Derek Finnegan (Meath Stamullen M. Donnelly) 

12.30: They are now 40 seconds clear of the bunch, with four individual riders in no man's land. 

12.34: They have covered 73 kilometres thus far - just over 100 kilometres left. 

The peloton is now just 16 seconds behind the leaders. The main bunch is still in two halves, with the second half of it one minute 50 seconds back. 

12.41: Correction - the information coming over race radio has been very unclear. The break is still well clear. Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence), Simon Richardson (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) and Patrick Clarke (Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) bridged across, so there's 15 leaders now. 

12.44: Two chasers, namely Kohei Uchima (Italy D’Angelo & D’Antenucci) and Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint) are at one minute 16 seconds. 

William Bjergfelt (Motorpoint) has sat up out of the front group and is waiting for his team-mate Pete Williams. He'll help him come across. 

12.46: The peloton is two minutes 30 seconds back. Several riders are trying to go clear of that. 

12.56: Bjergfelt is chasing hard with Williams and Uchima. They are 30 seconds back, but should make it across in time. They've covered 86 kilometres - pretty much halfway through the stage. 

13.00: Williams, Bjergfelt and Uchima joined up so there's 17 out front. 

13.08: Six riders have been chasing, but are three minutes eight seconds back. They are Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles), Anthony Walsh (Dublin UCD), Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge), Neill Delahaye (Meath Dectek), Christopher Coyle (Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) and David Brennan (Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) . 

They are all county riders, so it suggests that the bunch has switched off. The time gap backs that up and the peloton is a massive eight minutes back! They leaders covered 96 kilometres and are in the feed zone now. 

13.12: This is very dangerous for anyone left back in the peloton - could be race over unless they knuckle down. 

13.18: The chasers are at 3 minutes 27 seconds. They'll keep riding even if they don't get across as they are gaining time for the county rider and team classifications. 

13.22: The peloton is 7 minutes 20 back after 104 kilometres of racing'so it's sped up a little. 

Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) started the day second overall, so he's racing towards the yellow jersey of race leader?

13.36: The chasers are 4 minutes 25 back after 115 kilometres..

13.40: Sean Downey(Ireland Team Skoda) , James Sampson(Britain Motorpoint) and Conor Murphy(Dublin Eurocycles) are chasing, six minutes 30 seconds back. The bunch is at 7 minutes 40 seconds. 

13.50: The leaders are on the first King of the Mountains climb of the day. 

13.55: Downey's group has caught the six county riders, so there are nine chasers. They are six minutes back, and the peloton is a further one minute back. The peloton has however accelerated and should start reducing its deficit somewhat. 

13.59: The nine chasers are going to be caught; they are just 45 seconds ahead of the bunch now. Good effort, though and it shows the county riders have no fear in throwing down the gauntlet. 

14.00: Those chasers are five minutes 20 seconds back. 

14.03: The results of the first King of the Mountains climb has been confirmed: 

Category 3 KOM Prime, Barnagh Gap (km. 124.5): 

1, Salvador Guardiola (Greece KTM Murica) 
2, Floris Goesinnen (Australia Drapac Cycling) 
3, Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) 
4, William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint) 

Two more climbs come today: the category three ascent at Ahaneboy (km. 153.6), and then the leg-wrenching category one climb of Crag Cave (km. 167.2).

14.06: The leaders have covered 130 kilometres. 

The group remained together on the first climb, so there remains 17 out front. Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge) was dropped from the chase group, so there's eight of them now. 

14.15: The eight chasers were caught a few minutes ago, after 130 kilometres of racing. The peloton is five minutes five seconds back with 40 kilometre left to cover. Depending on how those in the break ride, the bunch could get a whole lot closer by the finish.

14.21: It's now four minutes 45 seconds? 

14.29: With 30 kilometres remaining, Bagdonas has attacked the break; we passed it a couple of minutes ago and it looked like there wasn't a whole lot of cooperation down the back. 

14.31: He's now sat up? 

The yellow jersey peloton is now just four minutes 7 seconds back - will they reel them in by the finish? 

14.45: With 25 kilometres to go for the peloton, the gap is now three minutes 45 seconds. The usual rule of thumb is that a bunch can take one minute every ten kilometres from a break; don't forget that the riders will scale a first category climb on this finishing loop, though, so that should help those with fresher legs to take a bit more time. 

14.49: The leaders are now inside the final 20 kilometres of the stage - The climb starts 12 kilometres from the end, and is 3.6 kilometres in length. 

14.56: James McCallum (Rapha Condor Sharp) has attacked and gone clear from the front group? 

The peloton are now three minutes 25 back. The riders are heading towards the first passage over the finish line, where we are parked. 

14.58: McCallum has crossed that line, beginning the 12.8 kilometre finishing loop. He is approximately ten seconds ahead of the others, who are lined out and riding through. 

15.00: The peloton was three minutes 15 behind at the line. McCallum has now started the final climb, holding a 18 second advantage. 

The peloton is now starting the climb?

15.04: McCallum has been caught by the rest of the break - it's certain that one of these will win the stage, but which one? 

The break is now splitting up on the climb, as expected?

15.05: Bagdonas has attacked and is clear of the others? 

15.10: Race radio info is patchy, in terms of who is leading. However here's the order over the top of the climb, so Bagdonas was caught. 

Category one climb of Crag Cave: 

1, Oleksandr Sheydyk(Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) 
2, Nikolay Mihaylov(France AVC Aix en Provence) 
3, Salvador Guardiola(Greece KTM Murica) 
4, Simon Richardson(Britain Sigma Specialized Team) 
5, Floris Goesinnen(Australia Drapac Cycling) 
6, Gediminas Bagdonas(Belgium An Post Sean Kelly) 
7, Peter Williams(Britain Motorpoint) 

15.10: After the climb, Nikolay Mihaylov(France AVC Aix en Provence) and Oleksandr Sheydyk(Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) are now leading. 

There are six chasers some 19 seconds behind: Aaron Gate(New Zealand National Team), Floris Goesinnen(Australia Drapac Cycling), Gediminas Bagdonas(Belgium An Post Sean Kelly), Salvador Guardiola(Greece KTM Murica), Simon Richardson(Britain Sigma Specialized Team) and Peter Williams(Britain Motorpoint). 

Further back, Derek Finnegan(Meath Stamullen M. Donnelly), Kohei Uchima(Italy D’Angelo & D’Antenucci), Simon Kelly(Meath 53 Degrees North Optimun) and Patrick Clarke(Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) are chasing. 

15.15: The two leaders are inside the final kilometre and racing for the victory?. 

15.16: Mihaylov takes the stage win, outsprinting Sheydyk to the line here in Castleisland! The Bulgarian took it by over a bike length. The next group of chasers came in over ten seconds later - bear with us while we get the placings. 

We'll also confirm the jersey - we think it could be Bagdonas. 

15.33: Ok, provisional results are in: Bagdonas does indeed take yellow, holding a healthy one minute 16 seconds lead over today's runner-up, Sheydyk. Mihaylov is on the same time in third, with Pete Williams fourth overall. 

Williams was third on today's stage, leading home the chase group 15 seconds after the winning sprint. 

There were no Irish riders in the top ten, but in riding for an Irish sponsored team, An Post's Bagdonas's yellow jersey is big news. 

Here are the provisional results: 

Stage 3, Kilrush - Castleisland: 

1, Nikolay Mihaylov(France AVC Aix en Provence) 4 hours 13 mins 50 secs
2, Oleksandr Sheydyk(Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) same time
3, Peter Williams(Britain Motorpoint) at 15 secs
4, Marcel Barth(Germany Thuringer Energie) 
5, Floris Goesinnen(Australia Drapac Cycling) 
6, Gediminas Bagdonas(Belgium An Post Sean Kelly) 
7, Salvador Guardiola(Greece KTM Murica) 
8, Aaron Gate(New Zealand National Team) 
9, Simon Richardson(Britain Sigma Specialized Team) 
10, James McCallum(Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) all same time

General classification: 

1, Gediminas Bagdonas(Belgium An Post Sean Kelly) 12 hours 56 mins 16 secs
2, Oleksandr Sheydyk(Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) at 1 min 16 secs
3, Nikolay Mihaylov(France AVC Aix en Provence) same time
4, Peter Williams(Britain Motorpoint) at 1 min 27 secs
5, Simon Richardson(Britain Sigma Specialized Team) at 1 min 31 secs 
6, Aaron Gate(New Zealand National Team) 
7, Floris Goesinnen(Australia Drapac Cycling) both same time
8, Shane Archbold(New Zealand National Team) at 2 mins 17 secs
9, Stuart Shaw(Australia Drapac Cycling) at 2 mins 21 secs
10, Anatoliy Pakhtusov(Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) same time

Points: Bagdonas
Mountains: Guardiola

We'll leave it there for now - come back later for a full report and results from today. Thanks for reading!

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