By Brian CantySports Reporter
Ed Laverack claimed a sensational final stage victory to win the Suir Valley 3-Day in stunning fashion.
The JLT Condor/Mavic rider made it two wins in as many days in one of the country’s ‘big three’ stage races after he won the rain-lashed closed-circuit in Clonmel on Sunday night.
It was a great moment for Laverack and his team who rode a textbook race all weekend, even in the absence of their Irish teammate David McCarthy, who was ruled out due to illness.
It’s their first success in the Suir Valley after years of competing andLaverack was understandably thrilled to take the yellow jersey.
“It’s a great win for me and my team; this is for them,” he said.
“They kept me out of danger and chased anything that looked dangerous.
“All I had to do was race up the final climb as hard as I could and, thankfully, it was enough,” he added.
It was heartbreaking for overnight leader Dave McGowan, who lost a massive 1:11 to Laverack yesterday.
McGowan’s Champions Systems/VCUK team were awesome for much of the 120-kilometre stage yesterday, setting a furious pace at the head of affairs to discourage any attacks.
The strategy backfired, though, as the team struggled to maintain the huge intensity.
That allowed numerous riders to escape, one being national champion Damien Shaw (Team ASEA).
The Mullingar man took flight on his own as, in effect, no-one could stay with him, and he had 30 seconds on the remainder of the bunch at one point.
He started the day around 20 seconds off the lead, so it looked a dangerous move, and he faltered as the road went upwards towards the finish, falling back to sixth overall, 2:42 down by the finish.
His teammate Ali Macaulay also tried his luck yesterday, as he only trailed by 16 seconds, but he too was well-policed and had to settle for fifth, overall.
However, they did take home the next most prestigious jersey, with Chris Reilly retaining the polka dot top, as winner of the King of the Mountains Classification, while Mark Power (Dungarvan CC) took the A2 jersey and Owen Dudley (Isle of Man) did likewise in the A3 jersey classification.
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