Commentary from Stage 6 2011

Stage 6

11.10: Good morning, howdy from Blarney and the stage 6 start of the An Post Rás. It's a mild day; it was sunny earlier, but now it's overcast. 

11.18: The first five kilometres of the stage have been neutralised due to road works; the race has just started now. That's going to put them behind schedule. 

There were two non starters today - Neil Coleman (Wonderful Pistachios) and James Davenport (South Dublin Zilcom). 

11.30: There's been many attacks, but nothing has got clear as yet. In terms of wind, this is the calmest day thus far this year. 

Today's stage has six climbs listed but our suspicion is that a bunch sprint is the most likely outcome. 

11.35: Still together, as far as we can gather; race radio is breaking up a little. 

11.45: Nothing is getting clear as yet - many are trying, none are succeeding. 

11.50: Henry Frusto (Italy D'Angelo & D'Antenucci) has attacked and is trying to break the elastic. 

11,52: No luck for him - he's been caught again. 

The An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly team had a grip on the race yesterday, and is seeking to do the same again today. Gediminas Bagdonas has over a minute's lead over his nearest rivals and wants to preserve that during this stage. 

11.56: Casey Munro (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), Steven Lampier (Britain Sigma Specialized Team), Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge) and Patrick Clarke (Mayo Western Edge Medical Comm) are clear. 

Stephen Gallagher(Donegal Sportactive/Engraveit) has bridged across. Ralf Matzka(Germany Thuringer Energie) has also joined; the gap is 10 seconds. 

11.59: They have been caught. 

12.05: Rhys Pollock(Australia Drapac Cycling) is now clear, and the bunch has split behind him. The speed is on? 

They are Conor Dunne (Ireland Team Skoda), David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Wouter Sybrandy (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) and Erwan Brenterch (France AVC Aix en Provence). 

12.07: 18 riders are now clear, with 14 joining up to the four which were clear. The move went 47 kilometres after the start, on the third category climb of Killathy. At the back of the bunch, many riders are being dropped. 

Those now clear are Conor Dunne (Ireland Team Skoda), Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda), David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Rhys Pollock (Australia Drapac Cycling), Mark Cassidy (Belgium An Post Sean Kelly), Mark McNally (Belgium An Post Sean Kelly), Erwan Brenterch (France AVC Aix en Provence), Bob Rodriguez (France AVC Aix en Provence), Bastian Burgel (Germany Thuringer Energie), Marcel Barth (Germany Thuringer Energie), Hector Gonzalez (Greece KTM Murica), Jaume Rovira Pous (Greece KTM Murica), Henry Frusto (Italy D’Angelo & D’Antenucci), Maksym Vasyliev (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Ben Greenwood (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), Wouter Sybrandy (Britain Sigma Specialized Team), William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint) and Tim Barry (Carlow Dan Morrisey Better Bld). 

12.10: They have 18 seconds now. 

The results of the first climb have come through. 

KOM category 3 at Killathy: 

1, Rhys Pollock (Australia Drapac Cycling) 
2, David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) 
3, Ben Greenwood (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) 
4, William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint) 


12.14: The peloton isn't letting this get much slack; after a focussed chase, it's back together again. 

12.21: Three others are trying their chances now. Rhys Pollock (Australia Drapac Cycling), Marytn Irvine (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) and Steven Lampier (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) are now clear going through Fermoy (km 57)

12.23: Marcel Barth (Germany Thuringer Energie) and Casey Munro (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) are chasing. 

12.25: Those two chasers were caught. 

12.27: They leaders have 20 seconds clear at this point. 

12.30: Conor Murphy (Dublin Eurocycles) is chasing. 

12.31: The leaders are now only 13 seconds clear, so it's uncertain if this move will work. Murphy has got across. 

12.35: Jakob Steigmiller (Germany Thuringer Energie) and Stephen Gallagher (Donegal Sportactive/Engraveit) have bridged across now. The six leaders will aim to build a more solid gap over the peloton. 

12.40: It may well be the case that a group is allowed go clear, build a lead, and then a steady gap be maintained by the peloton. That's what happened yesterday, although a late burst by Myron Simpson saw him foil the sprinters' plans. 

12.43: It won't be this group; they have been caught. 

Peter Hawkins (Ireland Team Skoda), Ralf Matzka (Germany Thuringer Energie) and Thomas Copeland (Britain Sigma Specialized) have jumped away. 

12.45: No luck for them; they've been caught. 

Robin Kelly (Kildare Newbridge) won the prime in Tallow. 

12.50: KOM leader Oleksandr Sheydyk reinforced his lead on the day's second KOM climb: 

KOM category 3 at Kilmore (km 80): 

1, Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) 
2, Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence) 
3, Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post Sean Kelly) 
4, Jakob Steigmiller (Germany Thuringer Energie) 


12.54: A group of 17 riders is now clear, including the yellow jersey. They got clear on the climb and have covered 83 kilometres of racing. No names have been called as yet. 

Two chasers are at 15 seconds, Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) and Alistair Rutherford (Britain Scienceinsport.com). The peloton is 30 seconds behind the front group. 

Rutherford has given up and goes back to the bunch. Archbold continues alone and closes up to 12 seconds behind. 

12.59: Okay, we have the names of the front group. Archbold made it up to them, so there are 18 leaders. The full list is: Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda), Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team), Floris Goesinnen (Australia Drapac Cycling), Lachlann Norris (Australia Drapac Cycling), Gediminas Bagdonas (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly), Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence), Bob Rodriguez (France AVC Aix en Provence), Jakob Steigmiller (Germany Thuringer Energie), Jaume Rovira Pous (Greece KTM Murica), Henry Frusto (Italy D’Angelo & D’Antenucci), Oleksander Martynenko (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Dean Windsor (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp), Simon Richardson (Britain Sigma Specialized Team), Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint), James Sampson (Britain Motorpoint), Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Motorpoint), William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint) 

The peloton is at 36 seconds. 

13.03: There are five chasers: Aaron Gate (New Zealand National Team), Javier Benitez Pomares (Greece KTM Murica), Menso de Jong (USA Wonderful Pistachios), Wouter Sybrandy (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) and Alistair Rutherford (Britain Scienceinsport.com). 

They get across. 

13.04: Seven more riders are chasing. They are 18 seconds back at this point. The identities of those are David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team), Rhys Pollock (Australia Drapac Cycling), Sam Bennett (Belgium An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly), Erwan Brenterch (France AVC Aix en Provence), Jose Carrasco (Greece KTM Murica), Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) and Paul Oldham (Britain Scienceinsport.com). 

13.08: Those seven also bridge, making it a sizeable 30 man group. They have covered 93 kilometres of racing at this point, leaving 79 left to be covered. 

13.18: Several other riders tried to get away from the peloton and chase, but they were reeled in. Still 30 riders out front, and they are two minutes 35 seconds clear now. 

13.20: At 100 kilometres, Menso de Jong (Wonderful Pistachios), Marcin Bialoblocki and William Bjergfelt (both Team Motorpoint) have drifted off the front break. 

13.23: They are now five seconds ahead, and heading over the next climb. 

KOM category 3 at Grange (km 104.8): 

1, Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Motorpoint) 
2, William Bjergfelt (Britain Motorpoint) 
3, Menso de Jong (USA Wonderful Pistachios) 
4, Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) 

13.29: Those three leaders have been caught and it's now all back together. There are 30 leaders, who are now three minutes 20 seconds clear of the rest of the field. 

A group of four riders are clear: Lachlann Norris (Australia Drapac Cycling), who made a big effort to win yesterday's stage, Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental), Wouter Sybrandy (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) and Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Motorpoint). 

At km 114, the gap is 47 seconds. 

13.35: Erwan Brenterch (France AVC Aix en Provence), Jakob Steigmiller (Germany Thuringer Energie) and Jaume Rovira Pous (Greece KTM Murica) are chasing the leaders.

13.46: Pakhtusov started the day two minutes 21 seconds behind the race leader Gediminas Bagdonas. He is tenth overall, and is looking to move right up today. 

Those chasers are at 58 seconds, with Aaron Gate (New Zealand) at 1 minute 4 seconds. The remaining 22 chasers are at 1 minute 18 seconds. 

The leaders are now in Dungarvan, having covered 122 kilometres. 50 kilometres to go now.. .

13.55: The four chasers have been joined now by Irishman David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) and Floris Goesinnen (Australia Drapac Cycling). So there's four leaders, then six next on the road. 

13.55: Those chasers are 52 seconds back; the yellow jersey group has recovered somewhat, and is at one minute. 

13.57: Those six chasers have now been caught. Bagdonas' group is now just 57 seconds back. 

14.03: Three riders have left the yellow jersey group and are chasing: Irish duo David McCann (Asia Giant Kenda Cycling Team) and Sean Downey (Ireland Team Skoda), plus Jose Carrasco (Greece KTM Murica). 

They are 38 seconds back. 

Meanwhile Lachlann Norris (Australia Drapac Professional) has punctured out of the front group. He had a quick front wheel change and was picked up by the three chasers; these should all get across. 

The rest of bunch is at one minute 5 seconds. 

14.08: The chasers are at 30 seconds. The Bagdonas group is one minute 12 back. 

14.15: After 140 kilometres of racing, the four chasers are now at 27 seconds. 

Jakob Steigmiller (Germany Thuringer Energie), Henry Frusto (Italy D’Angelo & D’Antenucci) are also chasing, at 1 min 22 seconds. The yellow jersey is at one minute 55 seconds - this could be risky for him... 

There's 32 kilometres go. 

14.21: At 25 km to go, the McCann/Downy group is at 42 seconds

There's one minute 25 seconds to the next chasers. The jersey group is two minutes 24 back! 

The results of the next climb: 

KOM category 3 at Tankardstown (km 148.3):

1, Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) 
2, Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Motorpoint) 
3, Wouter Sybrandy (Britain Sigma Specialized Team) 
4, Lachlann Norris (Australia Drapac Cycling) 


14.29: The yellow jersey is two minutes and five seconds back, and has just attacked out of his group. The next few kilometres may well determine if he can win this An Post Rás. 

14.31: Bagdonas has been joined by Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence), who started the day second overall. They both have a common interest in getting as close to these front riders as possible. 

Network coverage has been non-existant: bear with us. 

14.35: Those two chasers catch on, so there are six chasing three. 

14.40: Bagdonas has been caught by a dozen riders and is now one minute 50 seconds back. 

14.43: He tried to attack his group again, but was caught. 

With ten kilometres to go, the six chasers are 55 seconds back. Bagdonas' group is at 1 minute 45 seconds. 

14.49: The leaders are inside the final five kilometres. The latest time check puts the jersey group two minutes 11 seconds back - the jersey could in theory change hands today? 

14.52: One kilometre to go for the leaders - this kilometre is really tough, very hard finish. 

McCann has attacked from the chase group, but the best he can hope for is fourth. 

14.53: The leaders are fighting it out on this ramp up to the finish...really good crowds here, great to see? 

Sybrandy has been dropped - just two now fighting for the stage win.. .

14.56: It's Bialoblocki! He is quickest up this climb, going well clear? 

Pakhtusov was five seconds back, netting second and moving much closer in the general classification. 

The yellow jersey was one minute 55 back'so he'll hold the lead, but things tighten right up? 

Sean Downey was best Irishman on the stage - we think he was eighth. 

Really stunning roads in toward this finish - the last 20 kilometres were postcard stuff, and perfect for racing. 

15.01: One drawback - network coverage wasn't really up to the task. Apologies for that - it's pretty frustrating when that happens. 

Fortunately it should be better in the two remaining stages of the race. We'll leave it there for today and come back in a while for provisional results, and later for a full report and complete standings. Thanks for reading!

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