Murnane wins stage two of Rás Mumhan as Watson retains lead

Sam Bennett suffers mechanical problem on another frustrating day in Turkey

Conor Murnane survived a near-crash in the finishing sprint to win stage two of the Kerry Group Rás Mumhan in Sneem on Saturday, the UCD Cycling club rider beating Cycling Ireland Junior Team rider Niall McLoughlin and Ben Fish (TAAP Cervélo) to the line.

Murnane clashed shoulder to shoulder with the British rider Llewellyn Kinch (TAAP Cervelo) in their finishing burst, with the latter crashing.

Murnane stayed upright and landed his biggest win yet. The stage blew the race apart but with Friday’s stage one winner Lindsay Watson (Velo Revolution) in the 26-man front group, he defended his race lead.

The riders were put under pressure by the category one Ballaghisheen climb and this created the crucial split in the bunch. Darnell Moore (All human-VeloRevolution), David Montgomery (Spellman Dublin Port) and local rider John Brosnan (Killarney CC) subsequently went clear and opened a gap of almost a minute.


However, hard chasing behind saw this drop to below 15 seconds inside the final five kilometres. Montgomery briefly got clear of the other two before being reeled in; the bunch then hauled the trio back before the final sprint, enabling Murnane to take the stage win.

Watson holds a two-second lead over stage one runner-up Darragh McCarter (Spellman Dublin Port) heading into Easter Sunday’s 110-kilometre stage starting and finishing in Knocknagree.

Monte Guerini (Foran Cycling Club) is third, eight seconds behind, while Luke Smith (Moynalty Cycling Club) and Fish are among eight riders 17 seconds back.

Meanwhile the New Zealand rider Patrick Bevin (Israel-Premier Tech) won the penultimate stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey, outsprinting breakaway companions Jay Vine (Alpecin-Fenix) and Nicolas Edet (Team Arkéa Samsic) into Tekirdag.

Sam Bennett had some bad luck at a crucial point in time, with his Bora-hansgrohe team-mate Ryan Mullen the best-placed of the Irish riders in 91st place.

"It was a reasonably good day for us," said Bora-hansgrohe sport director Bernhard Eisel. "Unfortunately, Sam had a mechanical problem in a really important phase of racing. Then we tried to bring him back to the front when the race really started. But it cost him too much energy and he wasn't able to fully recover. He was then too far behind when we entered the next climb."

Sunday’s concluding leg is likely to finish in a bunch sprint. Bennett won in Istanbul in 2018, one of his nine stage wins in the race, but he has not yet shown that kind of form. He and the team will nevertheless try to finish the race on a high note.


Stage 2, Killarney to Sneem: 1 Conor Murnane (UCD Cycling Club) 120 kilometres in 2:49.49, 2 N McLoughlin (Cycling Ireland Junior Team), 3 B Fish (TAAP Cervélo), 4 D Kane (Spokes Racing Team), 5 L Smith (Moynalty Cycling Club)

General classification: 1 Lindsay Watson (Velo Revolution) 4:48.32, 2 D McCarter (Spellman Dublin Port) @ 2 secs, 3 M Guerini (Foran Cycling Club) @ 8 secs, 4 L Smith (Moynalty Cycling Club) @ 17 secs, 5 B Fish (TAAPCervélo).

Points classification: 1 Lindsay Watson (Velo Revolution) 19 points, 2 C Murnane (UCD Cycling Club) 15, 3 D McCarter (Spellman Dublin Port) 12, 4 L Smith (Moynalty Cycling Club) 12, 5 N McLoughlin (Cycling Ireland Junior Team) 12

Mountains classification: 1 Lindsay Watson (Velo Revolution) 45, 2 D Harvey (Spellman Dublin Port) 40, 3 L Smith (Moynalty Cycling Club) 38, 4 J Smith (Spokes Racing Team) 14, 5 A Maguire (Pinergy Orwell Wheelers) 13

Under 23 classification: 1 Dean Harvey (Spellman Dublin Port) 4:48.49, 2 C Halvey (Newcastlewest Cycling Club), 3 N McLoughlin (Cyclig Ireland Junior Team) @ 4.18"

Junior classification: 1 Niall McLoughlin (Cycling Ireland Junior Team)

4:52.50, 2 S Moloney (Munster Cycling-Tarrant Skoda Junior

Team) @ 6.31, 3 C McConville (Spokes Racing Junior Team) @ 10.06


Stage 7, Gelibolu to Tekirdag: 1 Patrick Bevin (Israel-Premier Tech) 131.3 kilometres in 3:21.02, 2 J Vine (Alpecin-Fenix) 2, 3 N Edet (Team Arkéa Samsic) @ 4 secs, 4 J Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) @ 41 secs, 5 J De Buyst (Lotto Soudal) same time

Irish: 91 R Mullen (Bora-hansgrohe) @ 11.04, 140 J Ewart (Bike Aid) @ 16.59, 144 C McGeough (Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling), 145 S Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) both same time.

General classification: 1 Patrick Bevin (Israel-Premier Tech) 27:33.10, 2 J Vine (Alpecin-Fenix) @ 20 secs, 3 E Sepulveda (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) @ 40 secs, 4 N Edet (Team Arkéa Samsic) @ 52 secs, 5 H Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) @ 1.17.

Irish: 81 R Mullen (Bora-hansgrohe) @ 29.56, 104 S Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) @ 38.52", 111 C McGeough (Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling) @ 40.50, 117 J Ewart (Bike Aid) @ 44.51.