Archie Ryan finished off his final season as an amateur rider in style, winning the Coppa Citta Di San Daniele race in Italy on Tuesday.
The Wicklow competitor raced into the finish at San Daniele del Friuli ahead of his team-mate Tijman Graat, with a third Jumbo Visma Development Team rider, Darren van Bekkum, in third, 15 seconds back.
Darren Rafferty (Hagens Berman Axeon) made it two riders in the top four when he finished a further four seconds behind. Ronan O’Connor (Team Colpack Ballan CSB) was 24th, 2:37 back.
Ryan drew on the frustration of second place in the under-23 Il Lombardia on Sunday, losing out on the victory when the rider he was sprinting against moved across the road and hemmed him against the barriers.
He said afterwards that he hoped to go one better in Tuesday’s race, his last of the season.
He duly delivered on that, showing superb climbing form in the race. He was part of a 12-man break and after team-mates Graat and Van Bekkum got clear on the second ascent of the Monte di Ragogna climb, Ryan bridged across to them before going solo towards the summit.
Graat managed to rejoin after the top, with Ryan doing much of the riding towards the finish and taking the win. The result caps off what has been a successful return from a knee injury which sidelined him for much of the season.
His results since that return in August include victory on a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir, sixth against the professionals on stage three of the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg, plus second and first in the races in the past three days.
Rafferty also had a fine season, winning the prestigious Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta – Mont Blanc in July, as well as netting second, fourth and fifth on stages, placing second overall in the under-23 Giro d’Italia in June and taking fifth in the under-23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro del Belvedere.
The two are among the most exciting under-23 riders in the amateur peloton. They will turn professional with the WorldTour-level EF Education-EasyPost team at the end of this year and look destined for successful careers.