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Bagdonas claims Ras lead for An Post Sean Kelly

Posted 24 May 2011

Photo credit: INPHO (Lorraine O’Sullivan)

Bulgarian sprinter Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence) won stage three of the An Post Rás in Castleisland today as An Post Sean Kelly rider Gediminas Bagdonas finished sixth to claim the race lead.

Twenty three year old Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence) pipped Ukrainian rival Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD – Lampre) at the finish after the duo escaped on the final category one climb at Crag Cave.

Peter Williams (Motorpoint) led home the chase group containing Bagdonas just 15 seconds later. Bagdonas now leads the race by 1’16” with Sheydyk and Mihaylov second and third respectively.

Overnight leader, New Zealander Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) finished in the main peloton  2’32” back. He drops down to eighth in the general classification, a few places ahead of day one winner Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp) in eleventh.

Photo credit: INPHO (Lorraine O’Sullivan)

The riders had a difficult day as the first tough climbs of the race appeared during the 175 kilometre stage route from Kilrush. Unsurprisingly the weather played a part in ensuring there were many attacks with a group of a dozen riders forming the decisive break of the day just after 60 kilometres.

A quintet of riders containing Williams and his teammate Will Bjergfelt managed to bridge across to the breakaway group, while the peloton lagged over eight minutes behind. The deficit was cut to under four minutes with 25 kilometres to go but it was already too late for the peloton at that point.

Bagdonas and James McCallum (Rapha Condor Sharp) both made unsuccessful attempts to escape from the lead group at Crag’s Cave, but it was Mihaylov and Sheydyk who pulled clear over the summit to fight out the stage win between them.

Photo credit: INPHO (Lorraine O’Sullivan)

It was Mihaylov’s third win of the year and he was pleased to triumph after over four hours of racing.

“The sprint wasn’t easy as we did many kilometres today and my legs were tired in the final stretch. But I was good today and I am happy. I am a climber and I was waiting all day for the final climb. I did my attack there,” he said.

“I look forward to the climbs, I feel better there. I hope it’s possible to take yellow. At the moment I will wait, because it is a difficult race” he added.

Meanwhile Bagdonas was delighted to take the yellow jersey although he did admit some apprehension about the coming stages with the hills set to test him.

“I am very happy. There was good work done today and I took the yellow jersey. I’ll try again tomorrow. I have a good advantage now, but hills are not my speciality. I will try every day. The guy who won didn’t do so much work, and so too the Ukrainian rider [who was second]. They sprinted for the stage win, but I am leader and this is my first time to lead a race this big, ” said the Lithuanian.

Stage four sees the peloton travel 142 kilometres from Castleisland to Castletownbere with the route taking in one first category and three second category climbs.
Photo credit: INPHO (Lorraine O’Sullivan)


2011 An Post Rás

Stage 3: Kilrush – Castleisland, 175 kilometres

1.  Nikolay Mihaylov(France AVC Aix en Provence) 4:13:50
2.  Oleksandr Sheydyk(Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental)
3.  Peter Williams(Britain Motorpoint) at 0:00:15
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 after stage 3:

1.  Gediminas Bagdonas(Belgium An Post Sean Kelly) 12:56:16
2.  Oleksandr Sheydyk(Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) at 0:01:16
3.  Nikolay Mihaylov(France AVC Aix en Provence) 
4.  Peter Williams(Britain Motorpoint) at 0:01:27
5.  Simon Richardson(Britain Sigma Specialized Team) at 0:01:31 
6.  Aaron Gate(New Zealand National Team) 
7. Floris Goesinnen(Australia Drapac Cycling)
8.  Shane Archbold(New Zealand National Team) at 0:02:17
9. Stuart Shaw(Australia Drapac Cycling) at 0:02:21
10. Anatoliy Pakhtusov(Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental)

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