Cavendish wins in Killarney

Downing holds onto GC lead

Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish (Columbia HTC) showed the same speed which won him six stages in this year's Tour de France when he galloped home first on today's leg of the Tour of Ireland. He hit the line ahead of Michael Van Staeyen (Rabobank), Stuart O'Grady (Team Saxo Bank) plus the rest of a 93-man main bunch.

 The 24-year-old Briton followed on from his three stage victories in last year's edition of the race, having few problems after some strong leadout work from his Columbia HTC team. The Astana squad of Lance Armstrong had also driven the pace in some crosswinds on the run in to the finish, but the bunch did not split.

"It was a tough course, actually," Cavendish said afterwards. "But once things came back together, it was a formality, really. The team was great. They are a super group of guys. We are not just team-mates, we are friends too. That morale makes things easier and if one has success, it is success for all.

"It's always good to win. Although it was a tough finish we managed to take control of things with two kilometres to go. It was a team victory; one guy crosses the line with his arms in the air, but it's a success for everybody."

Overnight race leader Russell Downing finished 17th on the stage and kept a strong grip on the yellow jersey. He ended the day five seconds ahead of Alexander Kolobnev (Team Saxo Bank) and a further two ahead of the latter's team-mate Matti Breschel (Team Saxo Bank). Irishman Philip Deignan (Cervélo Test Team) is fourth, with last year's champion Marco Pinotti (Team Columbia - HTC) 11 seconds back in fifth.

Downing said afterwards that there were no big attacks launched on the day's first category climb, that of the Curragh. "Things were pretty controlled there," he stated. "There was a headwind at the summit. I think if the race had really been on there, I think there would have been some trouble. It was very open at the top."

Last year he led into the final stage but then lost his race lead on the last lap of a torturous finishing circuit in Cork city. He's hopeful that this year's finale could be different. "They've reduced the laps by one," he said. "If it was three laps last year I would have won the race, so we'll see how it goes. I'm feeling pretty good but there are a lot of strong riders close by - Saxo Bank have five, Astana have two, and there are others. We'll see what happens. It is going to be a hard task but I will go down fighting, definitely."

Two take on the bunch

Today's 196km stage was marked by a long breakaway by two riders, Dennis Van Winden (Rabobank) and Irishman Mark Cassidy of the An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team. The latter attacked immediately after the start in Clonmel and was quickly joined by the Dutchman. Together they eked out a maximum lead of 14 minutes 30 seconds.

Van Winden had started the day 2:12 back and so he was race leader on the road. Cassidy took the An Post bonus sprint in Ardfinnan, while Van Winden was first to the top of the second category Vee and Musheramore climbs, shedding Cassidy on the latter. He had also taken the An Post sprints in Castletownroche and Millstreet. However, although he was still clear at the summit of the first category Curragh climb, he was reeled in with approximately 20 kilometres remaining.

That made a bunch sprint almost certain and so it proved, with Columbia controlling the various attacks and then having little problems in delivering Cavendish to yet another victory.

Tomorrow's stage sees the race reach its finale on a 185km run from Bantry to Cork. The finishing circuit is, by his own admission, too tough for Cavendish, but the team's emphasis will switch to Pinotti's bid to take home another yellow jersey in this prestigious 2.1 event.

A total of 22 riders are within 26 seconds of Downing's jersey, including Astana's Lance Armstrong. He said that the day required a considerable amount of concentration. "It wasn't as hard as yesterday but there were rough roads, gusting wind, a few hills. It was hard enough."

One who seems certain to attack on the final leg is King of the Mountains leader Matt Wilson (Team Type 1). He missed the break on stage one and so is not in overall contention, but he showed good strength on Saturday's stage and boosted his KOM lead. He now has 39 points, four more than Van Winden.

His accelerations today to take the points from the bunch were very impressive and a big attack from him on St. Patrick's Hill or one of the other climbs on the finishing circuit could bring him strong rewards.

"I went for it on the climbs and now I have a bit more comfortable lead going into the last day," he said. "Tomorrow I am going to just make sure that the guys who are close to me don't get up the road. I would really like to concentrate more on the stage victory tomorrow. These guys will be watching each over for the overall win."

Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff holds the other major jersey, that of points leader. He was fourth on today's stage and ended the day three points ahead of 2008 green jersey victor Downing. "It was a hard day," he proclaimed. "Hills are not my best terrain, but it was okay today. I will get ready for tomorrow, but it is going to be really tough and tight for the overall."

He's ridden the race for the past two years and described St. Patrick's Hill as "really hard." He said that he would try to stay up with the other contenders, and also that he would try to help his team-mates. Cavendish said the same thing, admitting that he wasn't strong enough to go for the stage win on such a tough finishing circuit.

With Pinotti in fifth overall and Craig Lewis just 26 seconds back in 15th however, Columbia-HTC has a chance of more GC success in the race. Other teams feel the same, though, making a humdinger of a stage all the more likely.
 

Results
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC5:07:33 
2Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Rabobank Continental  
3Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
4Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
5Steven Van Vooren (Bel) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
6Martin Reimer (Ger) Cervélo Test Team  
7Ian Wilkinson (GBr) Team Halfords  
8Christoff Van Heerden (RSA) MTN Cycling  
9Pierpaolo De Negri (Ita) ISD - Neri  
10Juan Van Heerden (RSA) MTN Cycling  
11Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank Continental  
12Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
13Antonio Cruz (USA) BMC Racing Team  
14Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
15Sam Bennett (Irl) Irish National Team  
16Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana  
17Russell Downing (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
18Michael Matthews (Aus) Australian National Team  
19Andrey Grivko (Ukr) ISD - Neri  
20Dean Downing (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
21Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental  
22Michael Schar (Swi) Astana  
23Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
24Malcolm Elliott (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
25Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
26Maurice Vrijmoed (Ned) Rabobank Continental  
27Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Team Columbia - HTC  
28Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) ISD - Neri  
29Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervélo Test Team  
30Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervélo Test Team  
31Jackson Stewart (USA) BMC Racing Team  
32Leigh Howard (Aus) Australian National Team  
33David McCann (Irl) Irish National Team  
34Craig Lewis (USA) Team Columbia - HTC  
35Dale Appleby (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
36Jef Peeters (Bel) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
37Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo Test Team  
38Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia - HTC  
39Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana  
40Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr) Team Type 1  
41Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
42Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana  
43Igor Abakoumov (Bel) ISD - Neri  
44Peter Williams (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
45Graham Briggs (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
46Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Continental  
47Alexander Kolobnev (Rus) Team Saxo Bank  
48Florian Stalder (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
49Benny De Schrooder (Bel) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
50Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
51Mark McNally (GBr) Team Halfords  
52Andrew Tennant (GBr) Team Halfords  
53Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
54Bernard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - HTC  
55Davide Appollonio (Ita) Cervélo Test Team  
56Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
57Dan Craven (Nam) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
58Simon Richardson (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
59Stake Vegard Laengen (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
60Philip Lavery (Irl) Irish National Team  
61Jetse Bol (Ned) Rabobank Continental  
62Jason McCartney (USA) Team Saxo Bank  
63Chris Newton (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
64Ian McLeod (RSA) MTN Cycling  
65Shawn Milne (USA) Team Type 1  
66Jay Thomson (RSA) MTN Cycling  
67Stian Remme (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
68Mark O'Brien (Aus) Australian National Team  
69Matt Wilson (Aus) Team Type 1  
70Michael Creed (USA) Team Type 1  
71Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1  
72Ronan McLaughlin (Irl) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
73Frederik Wilman (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
74Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana  
75Robert Partridge (GBr) Team Halfords  
76Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) AST Astana  
77Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo Test Team  
78Sondre G Sortveit (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
79Thomas Frei (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
80Bradley Potgieter (RSA) MTN Cycling  
81Jesús Hernández (Spa) Astana  
82Morris Possoni (Ita) Team Columbia - HTC  
83Timothy Roe (Aus) Australian National Team  
84Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank  
85Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
86Tom Southam (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
87Bartosz Huzarsky (Pol) ISD - Neri  
88Martijn Keizer (Ned) Rabobank Continental  
89Kurt Arvesen (Nor) SAX Team Saxo Bank  
90Travis Meyer (Aus) Australian National Team  
91Jack Bobridge (Aus) Australian National Team  
92Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervélo Test Team  
93Paul Griffin (Irl) Irish National Team  
94Nicholas Walker (Aus) Australian National Team0:00:16 
95Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team Columbia - HTC0:00:30 
96James Sampson (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta0:09:18 
97Robert Hayles (GBr) Team Halfords  
98Svein Erik Vold (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
99Martyn Irvine (Irl) Irish National Team  
100Mark Cassidy (Irl) An Post Sean Kelly Team0:09:31 
101Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) MTN Cycling0:10:08 
102Ino Ilesic Aldo (Slo) Team Type 10:16:40 
103Andrew Roche (Irl) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
104Ken Hanson (USA) Team Type 1  
DNFSean Downey (Irl) Irish National Team  
DNFOleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) ISD - Neri  
DNFNiko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
DNFDavid Fletcher (GBr) Team Halfords  
Results
1Rabobank15:22:39 
2An Post Sean Kelly Team  
3ISD - Neri  
4BMC Racing Team  
5Team Columbia - HTC  
6Cervélo Test Team  
7Team Saxo Bank  
8Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
9Astana  
10MTN Cycling  
11Joker Bianchi  
12Irish National Team  
13Team Halfords  
14Australian National Team  
15Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
16Team Type 1  
An Post Sprint: Ardfinnan
1M Cassidy (An Post Sean Kelly Team)5pts
2D Van Winden (Rabobank)3 
3P Deignan (Cervelo TestTeam)2 
4A Grivko (ISD)1 
KoM Cat.2: The Vee
1D Van Winden (Rabobank)10pts
2M Cassidy (An Post Sean Kelly Team)7 
3J Thomson (MTN)4 
4P Lavery (Irish National Team)2 
5M Wilson (Team Type 1)1 
An Post Sprint: Castletownroche
1D Van Winden (Rabobank)5pts
2M Cassidy (An Post Sean Kelly Team)3 
3P Deignan (Cervelo TestTeam)2 
4M Reimer (Cervelo TestTeam)1 
KoM Cat.2: Musheramore
1D Van Winden (Rabobank)10pts
2M Cassidy (An Post Sean Kelly Team)7 
3M Wilson (Team Type 1)4 
4J Thomson (MTN)2 
5S Milne (Team Type 1)1 
An Post Sprint: Millstreet
1D Van Winden (Rabobank)5pts
2M Cassidy (An Post Sean Kelly Team)3 
3A Grivko (ISD)2 
4J McCartney (Team Saxo Bank)1 
KoM Cat.1: Curragh
1D Van Winden (Rabobank)15pts
2M Wilson (Team Type 1)12 
3J Van Heerden (MTN)10 
4J Hernández (Astana)8 
5J McCartney (Team Saxo Bank)6 
6J Rubiera (Astana)4 
7M Breschel (Team Saxo Bank)2 
8S O'Grady (Team Saxo Bank)1 
General Classification
1Russell Downing (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta10:18:00 
2Alexander Kolobnev (Rus) Team Saxo Bank0:00:05 
3Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:00:07 
4Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo Test Team0:00:10 
5Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia - HTC0:00:11 
6Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana  
7Frederik Wilman (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
8Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:00:17 
9Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank0:00:22 
10Andrey Grivko (Ukr) ISD - Neri0:00:23 
11Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervélo Test Team0:00:25 
12Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental0:00:26 
13Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) ISD - Neri  
14Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
15Craig Lewis (USA) Team Columbia - HTC  
16Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
17Igor Abakoumov (Bel) ISD - Neri  
18Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana  
19Florian Stalder (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
20Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana  
21Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank  
22Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervélo Test Team  
23Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC0:02:12 
24Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Continental0:02:14 
25Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Rabobank Continental0:02:16 
26Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Joker Bianchi0:02:18 
27Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team0:02:19 
28Martin Reimer (Ger) Cervélo Test Team0:02:21 
29Ian Wilkinson (GBr) Team Halfords0:02:22 
30Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank Continental  
31Christoff Van Heerden (RSA) MTN Cycling  
32Michael Matthews (Aus) Australian National Team  
33Michael Schar (Swi) Astana  
34Steven Van Vooren (Bel) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
35Malcolm Elliott (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
36Leigh Howard (Aus) Australian National Team  
37Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Team Columbia - HTC  
38Graham Briggs (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
39Mark McNally (GBr) Team Halfords  
40Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana  
41Andrew Tennant (GBr) Team Halfords  
42Davide Appollonio (Ita) Cervélo Test Team  
43Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
44Antonio Cruz (USA) BMC Racing Team  
45Juan Van Heerden (RSA) MTN Cycling  
46Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervélo Test Team  
47Jef Peeters (Bel) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
48Sam Bennett (Irl) Irish National Team  
49David McCann (Irl) Irish National Team  
50Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr) Team Type 1  
51Benny De Schrooder (Bel) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
52Jason McCartney (USA) Team Saxo Bank  
53Simon Richardson (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
54Ian McLeod (RSA) MTN Cycling  
55Robert Partridge (GBr) Team Halfords  
56Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
57Mark O'Brien (Aus) Australian National Team  
58Ronan McLaughlin (Irl) An Post Sean Kelly Team  
59Stake Vegard Laengen (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
60Matt Wilson (Aus) Team Type 1  
61Sondre G Sortveit (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
62Chris Newton (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
63Jetse Bol (Ned) Team Type 1  
64Jose Rubiera (Spa) AST Astana  
65Jesús Hernández (Spa) Astana  
66Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
67Stian Remme (Nor) Joker Bianchi  
68Bartosz Huzarsky (Pol) ISD - Neri  
69Travis Meyer (Aus) Australian National Team  
70Kurt Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Saxo Bank  
71Martijn Keizer (Ned) Rabobank Continental  
72Thomas Frei (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
73Timothy Roe (Aus) Australian National Team  
74Jack Bobridge (Aus) Australian National Team  
75Nicholas Walker (Aus) Australian National Team0:02:38 
76Bradley Potgieter (RSA) MTN Cycling0:02:43 
77Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team Columbia - HTC0:02:48 
78Tom Southam (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team0:05:30 
79Pierpaolo De Negri (Ita) ISD - Neri0:06:34 
80Svein Vold (Nor) TMB Joker Bianchi0:11:40 
81Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) MTN Cycling0:12:51 
82Jay Thomson (RSA) MTN Cycling0:14:24 
83Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) An Post Sean Kelly Team0:14:27 
84Dean Downing (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
85Maurice Vrijmoed (Ned) Rabobank Continental  
86Jackson Stewart (USA) BMC Racing Team  
87Dale Appleby (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
88Peter Williams (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
89Philip Lavery (Irl) Irish National Team  
90Dan Craven (Nam) Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
91Bernard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - HTC  
92Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1  
93Shawn Milne (USA) Team Type 1  
94Michael Creed (USA) Team Type 1  
95Morris Possoni (Ita) Team Columbia - HTC  
96Paul Griffin (Irl) Irish National Team  
97Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo Test Team  
98Robert Hayles (GBr) Team Halfords0:23:45 
99James Sampson (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta  
100Martyn Irvine (Irl) Irish National Team  
101Mark Cassidy (Irl) An Post Sean Kelly Team0:23:51 
102Andrew Roche (Irl) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta0:31:07 
103Ken Hanson (USA) Team Type 1  
104Ino Ilesic Aldo (Slo) Team Type 10:37:59 
Results
1Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank10:18:07 
2Frederick Wilman (Nor) Team Joker Bianchi0:00:04 
3Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:00:10 
4Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental0:00:19 
5Craig Lewis (USA) Team Columbia-HTC  
Team General Classification
1Team Saxo Bank30:54:39 
2ISD - Neri0:00:24 
3Cervélo Test Team  
4Astana  
5Team Columbia - HTC0:02:20 
6Joker Bianchi  
7BMC Racing Team0:02:35 
8Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta0:04:15 
9Rabobank0:04:31 
10An Post Sean Kelly Team0:06:27 
11Team Halfords  
12MTN Cycling  
13Australian National Team  
14Rapha Condor Cycling Team  
15Irish National Team0:18:32 
16Team Type 1  
Points Classification
1A Kristoff (Team Joker Bianchi)18pts
2R Downing (CandiTV - Marshalls Pasta)15 
3M Cavendish (Team Columbia - HTC)15 
4A Kolobnev (Team Saxo Bank)14 
5P Deignan (Cervelo TestTeam)14 
6M Van Staeyen (Rabobank Continental)14 
7D Van Winden (Rabobank Continental)13 
8M Breschel (Team Saxo Bank)13 
9S O'Grady (Team Saxo Bank)13 
10M Reimer (Cervelo TestTeam)13 
11M Cassidy (An Post Sean Kelly Team)11 
12H Zubeldia (Astana)11 
13S Van Vooren (An Post Sean Kelly Team)11 
14M Pinotti (Team Columbia - HTC)10 
15F Wilman (Team Joker Bianchi)9 
16I Wilkinson (Halfords)9 
17C Van Heerden (MTN)8 
18F Rabon (Team Columbia - HTC)7 
19J Fuglsang (Team Saxo Bank)7 
20P De Negri (ISD - Neri)7 
21A Grivko (ISD - Neri)6 
22D Kostyuk (ISD - Neri)6 
23J Van Heerden (MTN)6 
24K House (Rapha Condor Cycling Team)5 
25J Thomson (MTN)5 
26M Frank (BMC Racing Team)5 
27I Abakoumov (ISD - Neri)5 
28R Sinkeldam (Rabobank Continental)5 
29S Kruijswijk (Rabobank Continental)4 
30M Kohler (BMC Racing Team)4 
31A Cruz (BMC Racing Team)3 
32D Lloyd (Cervelo TestTeam)2 
33G Rasch (Cervelo TestTeam)2 
34K Lisabeth (An Post Sean Kelly Team)2 
35I Ilesic Aldo (Team Type 1)2 
36L Nordhaug (Team Joker Bianchi)1 
37S Bennett (Irish National Team)1 
38J McCartney (Team Saxo Bank)1 
39F Calabria (Team Type 1)1 
Mountains Classification
1M Wilson (Team Type 1)39pts
2D Van Winden (Rabobank Continental)35 
3J Thomson (MTN)27 
4P Lavery (Irish National Team)14 
5M Cassidy (An Post Sean Kelly Team)14 
6J Rubiera (Astana)12 
7M Pinotti (Team Columbia - HTC)10 
8J Van Heerden (MTN)10 
9C Lewis (Team Columbia - HTC)9 
10J Hernández (Astana)8 
11H Zubeldia (Astana)7 
12M Breschel (Team Saxo Bank)6 
13A Grivko (ISD - Neri)6 
14J McCartney (Team Saxo Bank)6 
15S Milne (Team Type 1)3 
16J Fuglsang (Team Saxo Bank)2 
17M Possoni (Team Columbia - HTC)2 
18S O'Grady (Team Saxo Bank)1 
19L Armstrong (Astana)1 
20M Schar (Astana)1 
21J Hunt (Cervelo TestTeam)1 

 

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