Two days after his third place into Charleville, Danish rider Nicolai Brochner nabbed the stage win he was hunting for when he took Wednesday's uphill sprint into Sneem.
The Denmark Riwal Platform rider beat Emiel Wastyn, Aaron Gate (Ireland An Post Chain Reaction), Patrick Lechner (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) and the rest of a select 43-man group.
Mark Dowling (Louth Asea Wheelworx) was best of the home riders in sixth.
“This morning I didn’t expect the stage to suit me at all with the climb in the middle, but I fought really hard to make it over,” Brochner said, referring to the category one ascent of Ballaghisheen Pass.
Everything I had
Working with my teammates I knew I had a shot that we could bring the break back so I gave it everything I had. It feels amazing to be a Rás stage winner.”
Overnight race leader Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling Team) finished ninth and in the same time as Brochner. As a result he retains his yellow jersey, maintaining his pre-stage advantage.
Jai Hindley (Australia National Team) and Gate remain second and third, three and five seconds back respectively. Stage three winner James Gullen (Britain Pedal Heaven) and Nikodemus Holler (Germany Stradalli Bike Aid) are also within 10seconds of yellow.
However, it was a frustrating day for Ireland development team rider Eddie Dunbar, who slipped from fourth to 12th overall.
He suffered mechanical problems on the finishing circuit in Sneem and was delayed. He crossed the line over two minutes back but because the issue happened inside the final three kilometres, race referees gave him a time just 14 seconds behind the winner.
The decision is in line with UCI rules and essentially salvages his overall challenge. He is now 19 seconds behind Fankhauser and has four stages to fight back.
The 162.8km stage from
was a hilly one, with the four categorised climbs including the aforementioned Ballaghisheen Pass and the category two climb of Coomakista.
After approximately 62 kilometres a break of seven riders was established, including Irishmen Anthony Walsh (Cork Aquablue) and Bryan McCrystal (Louth Asea Wheelworx).
McCrystal used this as a platform to gather King of the Mountains points, and while they were hauled back before the finish he amassed enough to take over the lead in that competition.
The race continues on Thursday with a hilly 148.3km race to Clonakilty.