Stage 1 – The late route change due to raodworks incorporated some tough open draggy roads around South Mayo and North Galway. There was attacking from the gun and when Conn McDunphy got away he would go onto get a gap to win the first Sprint points. A small break went clear shortly after and with one of their own in the break the Westport and Scott Orwell lads let the break go. Conn McDunphy would puncture out of the break before Leenane and Lucan were forced to chase. Lucan failed to apply constant pressure and were distrupted in the chase by the viligant Westport, Sundrive and Scott Orwell teams. Crosswinds around Letterfrack to Leenane managed to split the bunch but the break now had 2mins 30sec and they were out of sight. On the final run in a small group got clear and narrowed the margin to 40sec. Richard Meaney would go on to take the Stage but would later regret not drilling it to the line when the final GC results were announced.
Stage 2A – Along with time bonuses on the Road Stages the time trial was shortened to keep the GC more interesting and this proved to be the case. A short fast course but in brutal conditions as temperatures failed to reach 4degrees. Fastest on the Stage was strongman Ian Cassidy from Fixx Roulers. Local Ballina man Paul Dunne put in a fine ride to take 2nd with Conn McDunphy rouding out the podium. Most notably Caimin Muldoon Aqua Blue took 8th place to pass Richard Meaney in the GC by 3secs and a further 1sec back was the previous days runner up Valdis Anderson of Scott Orwell.
Stage 2B – The conditions had worsened by the afternoon with more wind and rain for good measure. The 88km lumpy route was fast and furious from the start with the speed averaging 50kph. The yellow jersey was under constant attack and with no support team Muldoon rode well to defend the jersey with some help from Scott Orwell we might add! A break did go just before the first sprint and local man Patjoe O’Connell managed to grab full points. The junior battle was in full flight too with another local man Eoghan McLoughlin watching the 2 men in front of him in that Classification those being Conor Devlin Island Wheelers and E McArdle Ruane of Galway Bay. A large break managed to form after a number of individual riders managed to clip off the front with Muldoon under pressure. However, Scott Orwell were not happy with the make-up of the break and kept the gap managable. Lucan having missed the break capitalised on this and attacked hard over the last KOH and strung out the peloton. The back of the break was caught coming under the bridge on the Ballinrobe road with 500m to go but Cathal Dillane of Seven Springs had enough in the tank to pistol salute the finish followed closely by Brian McNally of Scott Orwell. Eoin Lynch rounded out the podium and took the Climbers Classification also. Eoghan McLoughlin had enough in the tank to stay with the main bunch when a hard day on the bike saw the other juniors falter in the last few km’s.
Overall the 2 Day was a successful event with great tactical racing on hard exposed roads. Some large teams made the race interesting and the weather added another dimension of hardness to already early season tester. Let hope to see ye all back again next year…..maybe another change to the format to keep things interesting?
FULL RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE