Cormac McGeough takes first Rás stage win of career as Dom Jackson survives nervous day in yellow

American-born Irishman jumps away from 10-man breakaway group inside final 10km to finish in Cahir three seconds ahead

There was further Irish success at the Rás Tailteann on Friday, with American-born Irishman Cormac McGeough taking a fine solo victory into Cahir ahead of John Buller (Ireland: Spellman Dublin Port CT) and Odhran Doogan (Ireland: Team Ireland).

The trio were part of a 10-man move which pushed clear with approximately 30km remaining of stage three and which built a winning advantage over the peloton. McGeough (Mexico: Canel’s-Java) then jumped away inside the final 10km and held on to win by three seconds ahead of the other breakaway riders.

“It feels fantastic. I’m delighted,” the 27-year-old Washington-born rider said about what was his first-ever Rás stage win. He finished second overall to Dillon Corkery last year but saw his chance of overall success disappear on Thursday. “I obviously wanted to see how the general classification fight went, but I lost time yesterday on the climbs. To be able to bounce back and win the stage is wonderful.”

British rider Dom Jackson (UK: Foran CT) started the stage exactly level on time with stage two winner Conn McDunphy (USA: Skyline-Cadence) and Liam O’Brien (Ireland: Team Ireland).


The two Irishmen were seeking opportunity to strike and O’Brien availed of that when he pushed clear with team-mate Corkery, last year’s long-time race leader Conor McGoldrick (UK: Richardsons-Trek DAS) and Warren Ewan Scanlon (Spain: Brocar-Rali-Alé). They gapped the peloton on the category 3 climb of Doneraile, just under 100km after the start in Kenmare, and remained out front for more than 10km before being reeled in.

“Hats off to Team Ireland, they clearly had a plan and caught a lot of guys napping, including myself,” Jackson said. “I think the only reason it came back was it still had quite a long way to go.”

O’Brien explained how the break went away. “We tried to make a move through Doneraile and we got a gap, me and my team-mate Dillon,” he said. “But we were marked men, it was never going to be easy. It was quite a long way out, I don’t know if we could have held it anyway. But they worked well together, I heard.”

McDunphy had started the day third but overtook O’Brien by virtue of better stage placings. They remain locked on the same overall time as Jackson, and are sure to try again on Saturday’s hilly 139.2km stage from Horse and Jockey to Kildare town.

Defending champion Corkery also remains in contention, 32 seconds back overall. He said after stage one that he didn’t feel as fresh as he hoped, and that he hoped to ride in to form. That seems to be happening. “I felt better today than what I have over the last few days. I’ll definitely suffer from the efforts today, but I think I’m getting better as the days go on.”

Team Ireland has cards to play, with both Corkery and O’Brien in the remaining two stages, and will likely alternate attacks to put pressure on Jackson and others. O’Brien is just 19 but is impressing his older team-mate. “He’s probably the strongest rider in the race, in my opinion,” Corkery said.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling