Marcin Bialoblocki became the first rider on this year’s An Post Rás to retain the yellow jersey when he finished eighth on stage four yesterday in Glengarrif where Russian Kirrill Pozdnyakov took stage victory for the Irish-run Synergy Baku team.
Yesterday’s stage kicked into action when a 23 strong breakaway group containing Irish riders Chris Reilly (Meath M.Donnelly), Conor Dunne (Tipperary Carrick Iverk Produce), Conor Murphy (Dublin Eurocycles) Sam Bennett (An Post), Roger Aiken (Louth Prague Charter) and Connor McConvey (Synergy Baku) opened a gap of almost three minutes on the peloton by Killarney, 60km into the 153km stage.
The race had almost come back together by the climb of Ladies View 20km later with Bialoblocki having overcome a quick bike change earlier on to regain his position at the head of affairs on Moll’s Gap 5km later.
“I think there were two many GC men up the road so it was sort of a doomed move,” said Dublin Eurcycles escapee Conor Murphy. “The yellow jersey came across to us just on Moll’s Gap. It was quite a large group but then a smaller one clipped off the front.”
Pozdnyakov was part of this little group that pulled away and built up a lead of over a minute with 20k to go, although they were cut down to just 28 seconds on the line by a determined Bialoblocki.
The chase came too late however to stop the Russian rider outgunning his fellow escapees for stage glory in a sunny Glengarrif.
“On the first day, I had some bad luck with a flat tyre and I was 18 minutes behind,” said Pozdnyakov, “so my GC ambition is gone but thankfully I realised a stage win.”
Equally happy was Pozdnyakov’s Irish team-mate Connor McConvey who didn’t have to expend too much energy in the chase group with his team-mate up the road and eventually took seventh on the stage to move up to second overall.
“It’s been a really good team effort this week,” said McConvey. “It’s difficult with a lot of guys riding their first Rás. It’s so different than the European style of racing. There’s a real lack of control here and the guys are asking ‘what the f**k is going on? This is crazy, what do I do?’ but we’ve got strong riders and they’ve adapted to the style of racing really well.
“Over the last few days they’ve come to grips with it. It really helps to have David McCann in the team car. He’s won it and ridden it so many times and been so successful, it’s great to have him talking to me and the other guys about what to do and how to do it. It helps a lot.”
McConvey and third overall Rasmus Guldhammer of Denmark are both tied on time with the race leader Bialoblocki as the Ras heads to Mitchelstown tomorrow.
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