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FBD INSURANCE RAS - AUDIO INTERVIEWS
STAGE VICTORY FOR O’LOUGHLIN, GALLAGHER TAKES AN POST TEAM’S BIGGEST WIN
DYBEL TAKES STAGE SEVEN, GALLAGHER SEIZES YELLOW JERSEY
POWER SOLOS TO VICTORY, RICHARDSON GRABS YELLOW FROM MCCANN
RICHARDSON WINS, O’LOUGHLIN UNLUCKY, MCCANN HOLDS YELLOW
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SHANE STOKES : FBD Rás Last Updated: May 27th, 2008 - 12:02:02

STAGE VICTORY FOR O’LOUGHLIN, GALLAGHER TAKES AN POST TEAM’S BIGGEST WIN
By Shane Stokes
May 25, 2008,

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© Shane Stokes
Stephen Gallagher and David O’Loughlin today capped off a fine week for Irish riders in the FBD Insurance Rás, with the former securing the first home victory in four years and the latter taking the stage victory in Skerries.

Gallagher had started the day comfortably clear of closest-challenger Roger Aiken (Ireland national team) and, together with his Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team-mates, kept close tabs on all of his rivals during today’s 130 kilometre stage from Newbridge to Skerries.

Each of those main competitors finished in the peloton and therefore Gallagher ended the race with the same advantage he had started the stage with. Aiken took second, one minute and 42 seconds back, while Rob Partridge (Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor Recyling.co.uk) and Alex Higham (Britain Plowman Craven) were an additional one and three seconds back, respectively.

8 stages, 20 categorized climbs, 1,224 kilometres, 140 starters, 123 finishers, 1 Winner. ©: Stephen McMahon.

It’s the biggest win thus far for both Gallagher and the An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team. “I had the yellow jersey earlier in the week but lost it. I was quietly confident that I could get it back, both because of the team that I had and because my form was quite good. I was never under too much pressure during the week and I was always holding back a little for these final two days, where I knew I was going to try to take the race lead.”

“My form here is up there with the best condition I have had in the past,” he stated. “Unfortunately I haven’t had the best of luck in the last few years. I have had broken wrists, injuries to my knees and tendonitis. Like any athlete it goes on and on. A month or two off here and there adds up and up. I think everything has just gone right – the team has been good, my form has been good, things went our way. It doesn’t often happen like that in cycling, as most cyclists will know. It is difficult to get it right but out team did it…it was a brilliant group effort.”

O'Loughlin and Co. attempt to break away early on stage 8 of the FBD Insurance Rás

O’Loughlin, meanwhile, was one of four riders who broke clear approximately 20 kilometres into the stage. He, Ireland Pezula Racing Cameron Jennings, Evan Oliphant (Britain Plowman Craven) and Blazej Janiaczyk (Poland national team) were completely committed and together eked out a maximum lead of almost six minutes over the peloton.

The Irish riders were all smiles after the final stage of the 2008 Rás. Victory on Stage 8 was particularly sweet for David O’Loughlin (Ireland Pezula Racing Team). ©: Stephen McMahon.
Despite strong head- and cross-winds, the quartet held onto much of their advantage and once onto the two laps of the tough finishing circuit in Skerries, they knew that the stage win would be fought out between them.

Jennings sparked off the aggression when he tried to go clear inside the final 20 kilometres. This move was covered but it was actually intended to pave the way for a counter-attack by O’Loughlin. The Mayo rider shot clear and only Oliphant was able to get across to him. The two rode together to the finish, where O’Loughlin narrowly outsprinted the Scottish competitor. Janiaczyk and Jennings came in 37 seconds later for third and fourth, while a further 39 seconds later another Irish Pezula Racing rider, Ciarán Power, won the bunch sprint for fifth.

“The four of us got away early in the race and there was pretty even riding all the way,” he said. “I told Cameron to put in an attack with 20 kilometres to go, to suss them out a bit because I didn’t know if they were strong or not. He attacked, they didn’t seem that strong and I took encouragement from that.

“I countered it and Oli [Evan Oliphant] came across to me. I threw in a few attacks but I couldn’t get rid of him. I was a little bit worried because he is good in the sprint. But I kept it in on the left hand side because the wind was coming across the road. I also left it late enough because I knew that there was a strong enough win there. That was it. He sort of came at me with 50 metres to go but I just got him on the last little bit.

The 30 year old was in the running for a stage win on day five but punctured inside the final three kilometres when clear with Simon Richardson (Britain Plowman Craven). Today’s victory makes up for that. “That day was really frustrating because I didn’t have a chance to sprint [for the stage win]. My form is only coming around now, I am definitely coming out of the week better than I went into it.”

Despite a strong international line-up, three Irish riders held the yellow jersey – namely Gallagher, Mark Cassidy and David McCann, and McCann, Power and O’Loughlin took stage wins.

Other prizes went to Dean Downing (Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor, points classification), Kit Gilham (Britain Kinesis, King of the Mountains competition), Dale Appleby (Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor, best under 23), Stephen O’Sullivan (Meath MyHome.ie/BDBC, best Irish county rider) and Mark Power (Tipperary Dan Morrissey, best Irish second-category rider).

Gallagher’s Ireland An Post M Donelly Grant Thornton line-up won the International team competition while Dublin IRC Usher Insulations was best of the county squads.

David McCann was the last Irish winner of the FBD Insurance Rás, taking his victory in 2004.

[more to follow]

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FBD Insurance Rás (2.2), May 18 – 25:

Stage eight, Newbridge to Skerries:

No guts, no glory: Winner of Stage 8 of the 2008 Rás, David O’Loughlin (Ireland Pezula Racing Team). ©: Stephen McMahon.
1, David O’Loughlin (Ireland Pezula Racing) 130 kilometres in 3 hours 22 mins 13 secs
2, Evan Oliphant (Britain Plowman Craven) same time
3, Blazej Janiaczyk (Poland national team) at 37 secs
4, Cameron Jennings (Ireland Pezula Racing) same time
5, Ciarán Power (Pezula Racing) at 1 min 16 secs
6, Dean Downing (Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk)
7, Mateusz Komar (Poland national team)
8, Paul Healion (Dublin McNally Swords)
9, Patrick Kos (Netherlands national team)
10, Stephen O’Sullivan (Meath MyHome.ie/BDBC)
11, Morten Hegreberg (Norway Sparebanken Vest)
12, Renaud Pioline (France Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur)
13, Ole Quast (Germany Stevens von Hacht)
14, Eugene Moriarty (Meath MyHome.ie/BDBC)
15, Kieran Page (Ireland Pezula Racing) all same time


KOM category 3 at Pluckhimin (75.1km):

1, Evan Oliphant (Britain Plowman Craven) 5 pts
2, David O’Loughlin (Ireland Pezula Racing) 4
3, Blazej Janiaczyk (Poland national team) 3
4, Cameron Jennings (Ireland Pezula Racing) 2


KOM category 3 at Cross of the Cage (94.4 km)

1, Evan Oliphant (Britain Plowman Craven) 5 pts
2, Blazej Janiaczyk (Poland national team) 4
3, David O’Loughlin (Ireland Pezula Racing) 3
4, Cameron Jennings (Ireland Pezula Racing) 2


KOM cat 3, Black Hills (107.6km)

1, Cameron Jennings (Ireland Pezula Racing) 5 pts
2, Evan Oliphant (Britain Plowman Craven) 4
3, David O’Loughlin (Ireland Pezula Racing) 3
4, Blazej Janiaczyk (Poland national team) 2


KOM cat 3, Black Hills (121.4 km)

1, Evan Oliphant (Britain Plowman Craven) 5
2, David O’Loughlin (Ireland Pezula Racing) 4
3, Blazej Janiaczyk (Poland national team) 3
4, Cameron Jennings (Ireland Pezula Racing) 2

County rider:

1, Paul Healion (Dublin McNally Swords) 3 hours 23 mins 29 secs
2, Stephen O’Sullivan (Meath MyHome.ie/BDBC)
3, Eugene Moriarty (Meath MyHome.ie/BDBC) both same time


International team:

1, Ireland Pezula Racing, 10 hours 8 mins 32 secs
2, Britain Plowman Craven, at 39 secs
3, Poland national team, at 1 min 16 secs
4, Germany Stevens von Hacht, at 1 min 55 secs
5, Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk, same time


County team:

1, Meath MyHome.ie, 10 hours 10 mins 27 secs
2, Dublin McNally Swords
3, Dublin IRC Usher Insulations
4, Dublin Dundrum Town Centre, all same time
5, Tipperary Dan Morrissey, at 1 min 22 secs


General classification after eight stages:

1, Stephen Gallagher (Ireland An Post. M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) 30 hours 34 mins 30 sec
2, Roger Aiken (Ireland national team) at 1 min 42 secs
3, Rob Partridge (Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor Recyling.co.uk) at 1 min 43 secs
4, Alex Higham (Britain Plowman Craven) at 1 min 45 secs
5, S. M. Razaei Khormizi (Iran Islamic Ahad University) at 1 min 55 secs
6, Wojciech Dybel (Poland national team) at 2 mins 30 secs
7, Dean Downing (Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk) at 2 mins 40 secs
8, Kieran Page (Ireland Pezula Racing) at 2 mins 47 secs
9, Benny de Schrooder (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) at 3 mins 1 sec
10, Paídi O’Brien (Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) at 3 mins 5 secs
11, Amir Zargari (Iran Islamic Azad University)
12, Dale Appleby (Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk) both same time
13, Renaud Pioline (France Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur) at 3 mins 8 secs
14, Martin Grashev (Bulgaria Nessebar) at 3 mins 12 secs
15, Kit Gilham (Britain Kinesis) at 3 mins 29 secs


Points:

1, Dean Downing (Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk) 62 points
2, Mateusz Komar (Poland national team) 41
3, Simon Richardson (Plowman Craven) 39
4, Ciarán Power (Ireland Pezula Racing) 39
5, Wojciech Dybel (Poland national team) 36


Mountains:

1, Kit Gilham (Britain Kinesis) 81
2, S. M. Razaei Khormizi (Iran Islamic Ahad University) 53
3, David O’Loughlin (Ireland Pezula Racing) 46
4, Simon Richardson (Plowman Craven) 41
5, Patrick Kos (Netherlands national team) 38



Under 23:

1, Dale Appleby (Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk) 30 hours 37 mins 35 secs
2, Martin Grashev (Bulgaria Nessebar) at 7 secs
3, Maurice Schreurs (Netherlands) at 7 mins 50 secs
4, Ole Quast (Germany Stevens von Hacht) at 16 mins 12 secs
5, Farshad Salehian (Iran Islamic Ahad University) at 18 mins 52 secs


County rider:

1, Stephen O’Sullivan (Meath MyHome.ie/BDBC) 30 hours 43 mins 36 secs
2, Joe Fenlon (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) at 2 mins 25 secs
3, Neill Delahaye (Dublin IRC Usher Insulations) at 2 mins 55 secs
4, Paul Healion (Dublin McNally Swords) at 11 mins 7 secs
5, Simon Kelly (Dublin IRC Usher Insulations) at 15 mins 50 secs

CI category 2:

1, Mark Power (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) 31 hours 9 mins 13 secs
2, Stephen Survidal (Dublin Dundrum Town Centre) at 1 min 42 secs
3, Richard McCauley (Kildare Murphey Surveyors) at 6 mins 36 secs
4, Kevin Donagher (Dublin McNally Swords) at 6 mins 47 secs
5, Stephen Halpin (Dublin McNally Swords) at 8 mins 7 secs

International team:

1, Ireland An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thorton Sean Kelly, 91 hours 46 mins 49 secs
2, Britain Stena Line Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk, at 1 min 17 secs
3, Ireland national team, at 8 min 19 secs
4, Norway Sparebanken Vest, at 9 mins 23 secs
5, Iran Islamic Azad University, at 15 mins 7 secs


County team:

1, Dublin IRC Usher Insulations, 92 hours 33 mins 41 secs
2, Meath MyHome.ie/BDBC, at 23 mins 46 secs
3, Tipperary Dan Morrissey, at 45 mins 15 secs
4, Dublin McNally Swords, at 49 mins 28 secs
5, Kerry Total Cleaning Supplies, at 58 mins 24 secs


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