Britain Madison Genesis rider Liam Holohan soloed to a superb victory on stage seven of An Post Rás today. The twenty-six year old was part of a seven-man break which led for the majority of the race before attacking out front, managing to stay away and give his team their first stage victory on this year’s race. Hamish Schruers (New Zealand National Team) edged a close sprint with Robert Partridge (Britain Velosure Giordana) to take second place, 46 seconds behind Holohan.
The penultimate day’s racing saw another tough day in the saddle for the 125 riders who made the start line. A total of seven climbs, including two category one climbs in quick succession, had to be conquered before the peloton reached the finish 147 kilometres away in Baltinglass.
With the battle very tight at the top of the general classification, an action packed day was envisaged and the first attack came very early on from yesterday’s stage winner Marcus Eibegger (Azerbaijan Synergy Baku) and Davide Ballerini (Italy Team Idea).
The duo were swiftly swallowed up by the peloton but successfully broke clear again shortly after with a group of six other riders including Holohan, Patridge, Schreurs, George E. Tansley (Australia Team Subaru-Albion) and Shane Archbold (An Post Chain Reaction).
This group of seven riders proved to be the break of the day, working well together to establish a lead of 4 minutes 30 seconds from the main field, led by yellow jersey holder Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling).
Going over the first category one ascent of Corabutt, Tansley lost contact, falling 40 seconds behind. The remaining break fragmented briefly on the descent of Mount Leinster, with Ballerini and Schreurs both suffering punctures. Ballerini, Schreurs and Tansley worked hard to get back with the break and managed to bridge the gap at the 100 kilometre mark.
Back in the bunch, the riders had upped the pace, reducing the break’s lead to just 1 minutes 25 seconds. Several groups tried to attack but couldn’t manage to stay away.
Holohan however was in no mood for hanging around and with 20 kilometres to go he made his move. Partridge gave chase and was followed by Schreurs but the duo could not reel in the Britain Madison Genesis rider and he soloed home to a rousing reception in Baltinglass.
Holohan was happy to make his mark on the race but admits the team are fully focused on the general classification (GC).
“I’ve had good legs all week so really happy to get the stage win. I’ve been trying to get in a break all week but obviously we’ve got the general classification to think about with Alex (Peters) and Ian (Bibby) right up there in second and third place. Today, however, I was given an opportunity and I just grabbed it by the scruff of the neck.”
Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling) finished in the main bunch and with nobody on the GC crossing the line above him, he retains the yellow jersey going in to tomorrow’s final stage. Eibegger becomes the new King of the Mountains, taking the jersey from Alessandro Pettiti (Italy Team Idea) while Damien Shaw (Cork City Aquablue) wears the county rider jersey for the second time.
There are no changes to the other classifications with Patrick Bevin (New Zealand National Team) holding on to the points jersey and Alex Peters (Britain Madison Genesis) claiming the Under-23 title once again.