Matthew Teggart’s run comes to a halt in Dungloe

Regan Gough secures second stage win for An Post Chainreaction but GC hopes evaporate

Peaks and troughs. Ecstatic on Tuesday after a stage stage win and on Wednesday after capturing the yellow jersey, Matthew Teggart wheeled to a halt in Dungloe on Thursday disappointed with how the day had gone. He and his An Post Chainreaction team were outmanoeuvred on what was the longest stage of the race, even if Kiwi rider Regan Gough salvaged the day with the squad’s second stage win of the week.

Teggart had started the day level on time with five others, including his team-mate Damien Shaw, but by the finish British rider James Gullen (Britain JLT Condor) was in control. He placed fourth behind Gough and vaulted from sixth to first overall, one minute and five seconds ahead of Ike Groen (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and two minutes 35 up on double track world champion Cameron Meyer (Australia National Team).

Shaw is now best-placed Irishman and An Post rider overall in fifth, but is four minutes 32 seconds down. He, and they, know that a chance may well have been lost.

“GC is gone. It is gone,” said team manager Kurt Bogaerts, who had been beaming Tuesday and Wednesday. “There are a few people now who will really defend first, second and third place.


“Okay, we have now two stage wins and a few nice days. It is still a positive Rás. But of course, when you come in a position like we were, you hope for more. The circumstances just didn’t work out.”

Teggart said that the stage from Buncrana ended up being a lot tougher than it appeared on paper. Exposed roads and sidewinds complicated things and after the day’s two category three climbs at Anny Far and Ballymastocker, the day’s key move formed.

Former WorldTour rider Meyer was involved, along with Gough, Ed Laverack (Britain JLT Condor) and Jerome Mainard (France Armée de Terre). The latter slipped back, but Gullen, Groen and Daan Meijers (Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam) bridged.

Working well together, these opened a solid lead over an eight-man chase group containing Shaw, while Teggart was stranded back in the bunch.

“Me and Damien tried to share the work, really,” said Teggert. “He would go after one move, then I would go. It just happened to be his that got away. Once he jumped, no one really followed. At that time we were happy with that. We let it go and sort of blocked the road. It looked like Damien would go on and take yellow. But it didn’t really work out in the end.”

Shaw’s group expected to bridge but the leaders were working too well together for that to happen. He eventually wheeled in 12th, finishing as part of a group led in for seventh by Irishman Robert Jon McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor). They conceded four minutes 38 seconds and he is almost that far off yellow now.

However, Gullen said he is taking nothing for granted. “I was chatting to Cam Meyer after the stage and he just said ‘I can’t get my head around the racing, it is just on all day. And stages that don’t look like they should be hard are really tough, yet sometimes the harder stages are easier.’ Just about anything can happen.”

That’s certainly true. Bogaerts may have been downbeat, but it’s certain his riders will try again on Friday’s mountainous stage to Donegal Town.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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