Archie Ryan has provided further confirmation of his huge potential by winning the penultimate stage of the Ronde de l’Isard stage race in France on Saturday. The climbing specialist has been working for Jumbo-Visma teammate Johannes Staune-Mittet in the race after the Norwegian won stage one and took the overall lead, but was able to play his own card in the finale of stage five.
Ryan rode for Staune-Mittet during the stage as part of a small group of riders who pushed clear of the rest of the field on the day’s penultimate climb, that of the Port de Lers. Ryan continued to pace his teammate and whittle down the opposition before finally attacking approximately two kilometres from the summit of the final climb, that of Goulier-Neige.
He reached the finish line 15 seconds clear of Staune-Mittet and a further two seconds ahead of Spain’s Fernando Tercero (Eolo-Kometa U23).
The victory is his second in 16 days, following on from his stage win in the Tour of Slovakia on September 15th. That was the first victory of his senior career.
“On every climb there was hard riding,” said Ryan. “In the end, Johannes and I ended up ahead with five guys. I had to help Johannes and maintain the classification.
“We controlled the attacks before I launched my attack...to finish first and second is fantastic. Today’s success was truly a team effort. The main goal was to keep the yellow. Winning the stage was the icing on the cake.”
The stage result sees Staune-Mittet retain the race leader’s jersey with just Sunday’s final stage remaining. Ryan continues to move up the general classification, climbing two places to seventh overall. Given his superb form in the race, the 20-year-old Wicklow rider will rue losing over ten minutes on the opening stage when he missed the day’s early break.
The Ronde de l’Isard ends on Sunday with a mountainous stage to Saint-Girons. Ryan is part of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team, the under-23 wing of the Tour de France-winning Jumbo Visma WorldTour squad. He took his Tour of Slovakia stage win a fortnight ago while guesting with the latter team, and will be increasingly on its radar after Saturday’s result.
However, barring a contract offer elsewhere, he appears set to spend another year with the development team in 2023 as the WorldTour wing has no available places left.