Marcin Bialoblocki hold on to wins Rás after stage from Naas to Skerries
Pole edges race purely by higher accumulated stage placings
Marcin Bialoblocki, of Britain UK Youth Pro Cycling, celebrates winning the An Post Rás after stage eight from Naas to Skerries yesterday. Photograph: Sportsfile
Holding on to prevail in what was the tightest podium in An Post Rás history, Polish rider Marcin Bialoblocki today sealed his career-best performance when he finished out as winner of the event.
After 1,180 kilometres of racing, the Team UK Youth competitor finished on precisely the same time as Irishman Connor McConvey (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku team) and the Dane Rasmus Guldhammer (Denmark Blue Water), getting the edge purely by higher accumulated stage placings.
The latter two attacked him constantly in the five days after Bialoblocki took the yellow jersey in Listowel last Tuesday, but neither was able to gain the second they needed to take over at the top. They tried to distance him on Saturday in the Wicklow mountains and again on today’s stage to Skerries, but he and his team were too strong.
The final stage was a triumphant one for the Án Post Chainreaction Seán Kelly team, which pulled off a remarkable result. Irishman Sam Bennett, the Belgian Nicholas Vereecken and the Kiwi Shane Archbold finished first, second and third in the bunch sprint to the line, capping off a fine week which also saw the squad take stage two with Archbold and stage three with Bennett. “This week has been great for my confidence; I needed to start winning again,” said Bennett.
In addition to stage one victory by Conor Dunne and the race leadership of Peter Hawkins, strong Irish performances also included McConvey’s superb second overall, plus Roger Aiken’s second place on Saturday into Naas and eighth in the final overall standings.
The latter result saw Aiken take the best county rider prize, while Cork Aquablue were top in the county team classification.