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On form McLaughlin fifth at Ronde de l’Oise

Posted 07 June 2012

By Cillian Kelly,

Ronan McLaughlin produced an excellent performance to finish fifth on the first stage of the Ronde de l'Oise in France. 
The Donegalman was followed over the finish line by An Post-Sean Kelly team-mate Niko Eeckhout in sixth place.
Today's opening stage was won by Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Itera-Katusha). With the last of four climbs coming just 15km from the finish in Montataire, it was tough end to the day's racing. The young Russian proved slightly stronger than McLaughlin and Eeckhout to take the biggest win of his career.
The fifth place finish by McLaughlin puts him in a good position to challenge for a top overall place in this race which consists of four lumpy days in the saddle. 
With a maximum of six riders to a team, it will be tough for the An Post-Sean Kelly team to control the race, but having won the overall prize last year with Gediminas Bagdonas, they will know more than most just what it will take.
Having gone close to a stage win in the recent An Post Rás, McLaughlin is clearly extending his form further which bodes well for his chances in the upcoming Irish national road race championships which take place in Clonmel on 24th June.
Tomorrow's stage of the Ronde de l'Oise takes the riders 172km from Longueil-Sainte-Marie to Ribécourt. There are five categorised climbs on the route, the last of which comes nine kilometres from the finish which should provide McLaughlin with a further chance to shine on the roads of France.
Stage 1: Ronde de l'Oise
1. Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Itera-Katusha)
2. Rafaa Chtioui (Europcar)
3. Iker Camano (Endura Racing)
5. Ronan McLaughlin IRL  (An Post-Sean Kelly)
6. Niko Eeckhout (An Post-Sean Kelly)

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