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Bagdonas takes Rás stage for An Post Sean Kelly

Posted 24 May 2011

Photo Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Gediminas Bagdonas of the An Post Sean Kelly team was first to the line on stage two of the An Post Rás after a gruelling days racing into severe gale force winds for the entire 164 kilometre route from Portumna to Kilrush in county Clare.

The large crowds waiting patiently at the finish line had expected the riders to come in after three and a half hours of racing but the blustery conditions added almost two hours to the stage.

A quartet of international riders were the earliest to reach the seaside town with New Zealander Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team), Australian Stuart Shaw (Australia Drapac Cycling), Ukrainian Anatoliy Pakhusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre) and Bagdonas left to battle it out for the stage win.
The Lithuanian had the most left in the tank on the finishing straight and he pinched the stage win with Archbold’s second place enough to move him into the race lead as Shaw held out for third.
Donegal’s Ronan McLoughlin (An Post Sean Kelly) was the next man home but the 1’23” time enjoyed by the leaders was enough to ensure that they also made up the first four names in the general classification.
Archbold and Bagdonas remain level on time at the top of the GC but the New Zealand team rider was better placed on count-back and thus takes the yellow jersey into stage three.
Overnight race leader, Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp) came home in the top twenty riders but drops to fifth in the overall classification.

Photo credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

After a drawn out day in the saddle in difficult conditions in form Bagdonas, who started the Rás on the back of a win at the Verrebroek-Beveren in Belgium, was understandably delighted at taking the win.

“It was a long day with a very strong wind. The whole team worked and helped me. In the last 30 kilometres I attacked and worked with the others. At the end I waited for the sprint and today I was the quickest. I’m very happy,” he said.
Although Archbold, who is primarily a track rider, just missed out on the stage win, he was thrilled to get hold of the race leader’s jersey.

“I got second in the World Omnium Championships in March and coming into this, I’ve just been trying to get the road form up. I’ve done a lot of training and didn’t get any results, so I’m happy to get a result here today and to wear yellow is a pretty big achievement,” he said.

Archbold though was conscious of his limitations and the challenge of holding onto the jersey over the coming days. “I am a track rider, so I don’t go uphill so well. I can get over the odd climb if I have to, but I definitely won’t be contending for the yellow jersey in a few days time,” he added.

The riders will all be hoping for a change in the wind speed and direction during today’s 175 kilometre third stage between Kilrush and Castleisland, Co Kerry.


2011An Post Rás (2.2) 
Stage 2: Portumna – Kilrush, 164 kilometres
1. Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) 04:54:18
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 (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) at 00:01:23
6.  Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint) at 00:01:25
7.  Myron Simpson (New Zealand National Team) at 00:01:27
8.  Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles) 
9.  Nikolay Mihaylov (France AVC Aix en Provence) 
10,. Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental)
General classification after stage 2: 
1.  Shane Archbold (New Zealand National Team) 8 hours 42 mins 11 secs
2.  Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) same time
3.  Stuart Shaw (Australia Drapac Cycling) at 00:00:04 seconds
4.  Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine ISD-Lampre Continental) same time
5.  Dean Downing (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) at 00:01:17
6.  David McCann, at 00:01:24
7.  Tobyn Horton (Britain Motorpoint) at 00:01:25 secs
8.  Dean Windsor (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) same time
9.  Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) at 00:01:27
10. Peter Williams (Britain Motorpoint) same time

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