An Post-Chainreaction’s Aaron Gate has taken second place in stage 3 of An Post Rás. The Kiwi omnium rider finished 2 seconds behind James Gullen of Pedal Heaven Race Team and Nikodemus Holler of Stradalli-Bike Aid as the general classification shuffled about a bit.
The 133.2km between Charleville and Dingle were most notable for the climb of Conor Pass. Rated a category 1 gradient the climb featured inside the final 10km and would have a great impact on the race. Breakaways were an immediate factor in the race, with Eoin Morton of UCD Fitz Cycles back in the break after his win yesterday. A large move eventually formed at the front with New Zealand’s Hayden Roulston getting stuck into the action. But the lack of cooperation between the 19 riders in the move rendered it doomed and they were caught.
That was not the end of big breakaway groups, or of Hayden Roulston’s presence in them. Another group steadily formed with JLT Condor, An Post-Chainreaction, Cycling New Zealand, Data#3 Cisco and the Irish National Team all among those featuring in the group that numbered upwards of 19 riders. They took their time to gain any serious traction but gradually they stretched their lead to around a minute with 50km to go.
The lead fluctuated between 38 and 57 seconds for a little while, while in the break Hayden Roulston made himself busy collecting the Post Office Prime in Scartaglen with 60.6km covered. The leaders reached 1.15mins before behind them the Australian national team began to get to work chasing the move down. Neon Velo also lent their support in the chase effort and gradually the break found itself losing traction over the bunch.
Finally with 25km to go everything came back together, and the riders got busy positioning themselves for the climb of Conor Pass. Mark Dowling of Asea Wheelworx was the first to go on the climb, but James Gullen of Pedal Heaven countered that move and pushed ahead while behind him the race found itself obliterated with riders being shaking off here there and everywhere.
A small group established itself at the front of the race featuring former An Post Rás winner Clemens Fankhauser of Tirol Cycling Team, Lucas Hamilton of the Australian National Team, Edward Laverack of JLT Condor, Josh Edmondson of NFTO Pro Cycling and Rasmus Mygind of Riwal Platform; while also climbing well and positioning himself with the leaders was Aaron Gate.
In the finish Gullen was able to steal a march on the rest and take the stage by 2 seconds, while Aaron Gate sprinted to second place behind him. Taylor Gunman of Madison Genesis crossed the line in the top 20 in a large group that crossed the line 21 seconds behind Gullen. Regan Gough finished in the company of Conor Dunne of JLT Condor, while Dylan Kennett and Hayden Roulston finished in the same group together. Scott Thomas of Data#3 Cisco finished with teammates Dylan Newbery and Ryan Thomas, while Nick Kergozou and Pieter Bulling finished a few seconds apart from each other.