Bevin cracks as Fankhauser takes Rás lead

Superb stage reshuffles general classification

The An Post Rás yesterday lived up to its reputation as one of the most unpredictable races on the calendar with a superb stage that reshuffled the general classification and deposed the rider who had looked destined for victory.

Double stage winner Patrick Bevin (New Zealand) started the day with a one minute 55 seconds advantage; by the end, in Clonakilty, he had dropped to 13th, over eight minutes back.

Austrian Clemens Fankhauser, second overnight, now holds the yellow jersey plus an 11-second lead over Alex Peters (Britain Madison Genesis).

Last year's race winner Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Velosure Giordana) was best in the uphill finish to the line, beating Ian Bibby (Britain Madison Genesis), while Fankhauser was fifth in the same time and Seán Downey (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction) best of the Irish riders in eighth.


Polish rider Bialoblocki was left stranded when UK Youth squad stopped at the end of last season. He finally got a contract for 2014 and roared with satisfaction and relief when he took yesterday's win. 'So happy' "Last year I almost ended up without a team," he explained. "Phil Griffiths took me to his team, and I wanted to prove again I am a good rider. This is why I was so happy."

The 168.9 km stage featured five categorised climbs, with the first of those, the second category Coomakista, topping out 22 kilometres after the start in Cahirciveen.

While a number of attacks were fired off there, a more serious development happened half an hour later when five riders went clear. These were joined by another 15; including Austria Tirol rider Fankhauser as well as third-placed Alessandro Pettiti (Italy Team Idea 2010 ASD).

The move spelled danger for Bevin. His New Zealand team was in difficulty trying to chase and Bevin was isolated when 11 riders clipped away at Glengarriff. The group contained Fankhauser, Bialoblocki, Downey and Peters .

These rode well together while behind Bevin and his team-mates had cracked, enabling the gap to climb steadily.

The final gap was nine minutes 59 seconds, ensuring all 11 riders in the move now occupy the first 11 places overall.

Fankhauser said will fight hard to try to hold on, while Downey needs to close a 58 second gap to grab the jersey.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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