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Crystal clear win for Downing in Waterford

Twelve months and one day ago Russell Downing took a stage win and the yellow jersey at the Tour of Ireland when he proved the strongest of a breakaway group. History repeated itself today when the Candi TV - Marshall's Pasta rider did precisely the same again, although this time Waterford rather than Dingle was the scene of his success.

At the end of over five hours of racing, Downing galloped home one second clear of seven other riders, with Alexander Kolobnev (Team Saxo Bank), his team-mate Matti Breschel and Ireland's Philip Deignan (Cervélo Test Team) netting second through to fourth.

Haimar Zubeldia (Astana), Marco Pinotti (Columbia-HTC), Frederik Wilman (Joker Bianchi) and Oleksandr Kvachuk (ISD) also finished in the same time, with Pinotti showing that he is in good form and intent on repeating his overall victory of 2008.

American rider Lance Armstrong was part of the larger 24-man group which surged clear of the peloton on the day's final climb, the second category ascent of Inistioge, and which was split in two by the attacks inside the final ten kilometres. He placed 23rd, his group conceding sixteen seconds to Downing.

Several other big names were present in this larger group, while Saxo Bank's promising young rider Jakob Fuglsang was stranded between the two. All remain in contention overall, although everyone behind Armstrong is at least two minutes and 12 seconds off Downing and can almost certainly kiss their general classification prospects goodbye.

As for the stage victor, he said that he choose his moment correctly and that enabled him to win as he did. "The guy from Joker [Wilman] came out of the corner in the lead," he explained. "When we were going down the bypass [on the other side of the river] there was a really strong headwind, so I knew that there would be a really fast tailwind for the finish.

"One of the Saxo Bank guys took the front so I sat second wheel and tried to look out to see how far the sprint was. His team made took the lead up and gave me a really good draft. The moment was there when I was really on top of the gear and I nearly thought it was a little early, but I went for it. It was a good sprint and it was nice to get it."

Breschel has also won a stage in the past and would normally be counted on in the gallop, but he said that he was a bit fatigued after bridging across to the move. "That took a lot out of my legs," he said. "I was surprised by Russell at the finish. I didn't know who he was, but all of my team-mates told me that he was fast. I did my own race today, saving energy and seeing how far I could get."

Activity from the gun

Several hours earlier in the day 109 riders lined out in Powerscourt for the start of the first stage. A minute's solemn silence was held for Paul Healion, the rider who was killed in a car crash last Sunday, and who was due to participate with the Irish national team.

Shortly after 10am the riders lined out and, after a short loop around the nearly village of Enniskerry, the peloton moved towards the day's first climb of the Lower Sugar Loaf. Last year's KOM winner Matt Wilson (Team Type 1) was first to the top, beating Craig Lewis (Columbia-HTC) and others, then 2008 stage victor Frantisek Rabon (Columbia-HTC) and British national champ Kristian House (Rapha Condor Cycling Team) won An Post bonus sprints in Roundwood and Rathdrum.

While there were countless breakaway attempts, including a big but short-lived move by 24 riders before the bonus sprint in Rathdrum, the first move of significance was a solo effort by Jay Thomson (MTN Cycling) which came approximately an hour and a half after the start. He quickly built a maximum lead of over six minutes, and took both the top mountains points on the first category Mount Leinster after 108.8km and the An Post bonus sprint in Borris with 73km remaining.

Thomson also scooped top mountains points at the Cat 3 Coopanagh climb, where he was three minutes ahead, and continued to plug on alone. Team Ireland's 19 year old Philip Lavery attacked soon after and bridged across to him on the day's final climb, the second category Inistioge, pushing on ahead alone. He was caught however, and dropped by a group of 24 which included almost all of the pre-race favourites.

This group worked well together to build a lead of over two minutes, but then co-operation broke down when the attacks started. The decisive break, which included Pinotti, Fuglsang, Kolobnev, Deignan , Kvuachuck, Downing and Wilman clipped away with four kilometre remaining; Breschel and Zebeldia then joined across before the final sprint, which was won by Downing:

Deignan was happy with his performance, but admitted he did too much on the run in toward the finish on Waterford's crowd-thronged Quays. "I was in the original group of 24 and then with ten kilometres remaining, attacks started to go on the main road," he said. "Groups kept on going and coming back; eventually a group of seven of us got away with about four kilometres go to."

He feels he got things wrong in the finale. "I think I was a bit too aggressive coming in towards the finish, so I didn't have the legs for the sprint."

Breschel also missed out on a possible win, but didn't sound too disappointed. "We have a lot of cards to play, we have a lot of guys in the breakaway. For sure we wanted to win the stage, but basically we are just trying to test ourselves before the Vuelta and hopefully try to take the jersey tomorrow or in Cork."

Twelve months ago Downing had the yellow jersey going into the tough Cork finale but lost out under the continued onslaught of a number of competitors, including the eventually winner Pinotti. This time round, he hopes for better than second overall. "We'll aim to defend and have the jersey heading onto that finishing circuit on Sunday," he said. "I've taken a stage win now, we'll just see how it works out."

Wilson is another who is planning on defending his new garment. He won the King of the Mountains last year and would like to do so again. "It wasn't preconceived to go for the jersey," he said. "I just happened to be on the front on the first climb and no-one really seemed to go for it, so I jumped and went for the top. I got a few points and decided to keep going, to keep plugging away and see what happens. I'll aim to defend this all the way to the finish now."

The race continues tomorrow with another 196 kilometre leg, this time from Clonmel to Killarney. It includes the category-two Musheramore plus the first category Curragh, but a bunch sprint cannot be ruled out. If so, Mark Cavendish (Columbia HTC) is clearly the one to watch.

 

Results
1Russell Downing (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta5:10:37
2Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Saxo Bank0:00:01
3Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank
4Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo TestTeam
5Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana
6Marco Pinotti (Ita) Columbia-HTC
7Frederik Wilman (Nor) Joker Bianchi
8Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) ISD
9Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank0:00:07
10Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) ISD0:00:16
11Igor Abakoumov (Bel) ISD
12Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team
13Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
14Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam
15Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Joker Bianchi
16Craig Lewis (USA) Columbia-HTC
17Florian Stalder (Swi) BMC Racing Team
18Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam
19Karsten Kroon (Ned) Saxo Bank
20Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD
21Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana
22Stuart O:Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank
23Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
24Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Joker Bianchi0:02:12
25Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Rabobank Continental Team
26Davide Appollonio (Ita) Cervélo TestTeam
27Mark McNally (GBr) Team Halfords
28Graham Briggs (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
29Andrew Tennant (GBr) Team Halfords
30Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
31Robert Partridge (GBr) Team Halfords
32Michael Matthews (Aus) Australian National Team
33Ian Wilkinson (GBr) Team Halfords
34Leigh Howard (Aus) Australian National Team
35Svein Vold (Nor) Joker Bianchi
36Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
37Michael Schär (Swi) Astana
38Jason McCartney (USA) Saxo Bank
39Ian McLeod (Rsa) MTN Cycling
40Malcolm Elliott (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
41Christoff Van Heerden (Rsa) MTN Cycling
42Vicente Reynes (Spa) Columbia-HTC
43Simon Richardson (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
44Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
45Sondre G Sortveit (Nor) Joker Bianchi
46Ronan Mc Laughlin (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
47Jesús Hernández (Spa) Astana
48Mark O:Brien (Aus) Australian National Team
49Benny De Schrooder (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
50Jef Peeters (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
51José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana
52Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr) Team Type 1
53Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
54Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Type 1
55Travis Meyer (Aus) Australian National Team
56Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam
57Bartosz Huzarsky (Pol) ISD
58Steven Van Vooren (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
59David McCann (Irl) Irish National Team
60Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
61Chris Newton (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
62Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Saxo Bank
63Stake Vegard Laengen (Nor) Joker Bianchi
64Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
65Jetse Bol (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
66Martijn Keizer (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
67Martin Reimer (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam
68Mark Cavendish (GBr) Columbia-HTC
69Antonio Cruz (USA) BMC Racing Team
70Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
71Jack Bobridge (Aus) Australian National Team
72Timothy Roe (Aus) Australian National Team
73Sam Bennett (Irl) Irish National Team
74Juan Van Heerden (Rsa) MTN Cycling
75Stian Remme (Nor) Joker Bianchi
76Thomas Frei (Swi) BMC Racing Team
77Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
78David Fletcher (GBr) Team Halfords
79Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Columbia-HTC
80Nicholas Walker (Aus) Australian National Team
81Bradley Potgieter (Rsa) MTN Cycling0:02:33
82Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) MTN Cycling
83Tom Southam (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team0:05:20
84Pierpaolo De Negri (Ita) ISD0:06:24
85Paul Griffin (Irl) Irish National Team0:14:17
86Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
87Philip Lavery (Irl) Irish National Team
88Sean Downey (Irl) Irish National Team
89Robert Hayles (GBr) Team Halfords
90Peter Williams (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
91Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1
92Dean Downing (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
93James Sampson (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
94Morris Possoni (Ita) Columbia-HTC
95Dale Appleby (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
96Jackson Stewart (USA) BMC Racing Team
97Jay Thomson (Rsa) MTN Cycling
98Dan Craven (Nam) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
99Shawn Milne (Usa) Team Type 1
100Mark Cassidy (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
101Maurice Vrijmoed (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
102Andrew Roche (Irl) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
103Martyn Irvine (Irl) Irish National Team
104Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam
105Ken Hanson (Usa) Team Type 1
106Michael Creed (Usa) Team Type 1
107Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Columbia-HTC
108Ino Ilesic Aldo (Slo) Team Type 10:21:10
DNFEd Clancy (GBr) Team Halfords

Roundwood
1Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Columbia-HTC5pts
2Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Joker Bianchi3
3Ino Ilesic Aldo (Slo) Team Type 12
4Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team1

Rathdrum
1Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team5pts
2Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD3
3Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam2
4Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 11

Borris
1Jay Thomson (Rsa) MTN Cycling5pts
2Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Joker Bianchi3
3Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Columbia-HTC2
4Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team1

Lower Sugar Loaf
1Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Type 16pts
2Craig Lewis (USA) Columbia-HTC4
3Shawn Milne (Usa) Team Type 12
4Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam1

Mount Leinster
1Jay Thomson (Rsa) MTN Cycling15pts
2Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Type 112
3Marco Pinotti (Ita) Columbia-HTC10
4José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana8
5Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD6
6Craig Lewis (USA) Columbia-HTC4
7Morris Possoni (Ita) Columbia-HTC2
8Michael Schär (Swi) Astana1

Coppanagh
1Jay Thomson (Rsa) MTN Cycling6pts
2Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Type 14
3Philip Lavery (Irl) Irish National Team2
4Craig Lewis (USA) Columbia-HTC1

Inistioge
1Philip Lavery (Irl) Irish National Team10pts
2Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana7
3Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank4
4Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank2
5Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana1

Teams
1Team Saxo Bank15:32:00
2ISD - Neri0:00:24
3Cervélo Test Team
4Astana
5Joker Bianchi0:02:20
6Team Columbia - HTC
7BMC Racing Team0:02:35
8Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta0:04:15
9Rabobank Continental Team0:04:31
10Team Halfords0:06:27
11Australian National Team
12Rapha Condor Cycling Team
13An Post Sean Kelly Team
14MTN Cycling
15Team Type 10:18:32
16Irish National Team

General classification after stage 1
1Russell Downing (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta5:10:27
2Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Saxo Bank0:00:05
3Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank0:00:07
4Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo TestTeam0:00:11
5Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana
6Marco Pinotti (Ita) Columbia-HTC
7Frederik Wilman (Nor) Joker Bianchi
8Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) ISD
9Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank0:00:17
10Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD0:00:24
11Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam0:00:25
12Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) ISD0:00:26
13Igor Abakoumov (Bel) ISD
14Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team
15Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
16Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam
17Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Joker Bianchi
18Craig Lewis (USA) Columbia-HTC
19Florian Stalder (Swi) BMC Racing Team
20Karsten Kroon (Ned) Saxo Bank
21Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana
22Stuart O:Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank
23Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
24Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Joker Bianchi0:02:18
25Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Columbia-HTC
26Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team0:02:19
27Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Rabobank Continental Team0:02:22
28Davide Appollonio (Ita) Cervélo TestTeam
29Mark McNally (GBr) Team Halfords
30Graham Briggs (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
31Andrew Tennant (GBr) Team Halfords
32Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
33Robert Partridge (GBr) Team Halfords
34Michael Matthews (Aus) Australian National Team
35Ian Wilkinson (GBr) Team Halfords
36Leigh Howard (Aus) Australian National Team
37Svein Vold (Nor) Joker Bianchi
38Michael Schär (Swi) Astana
39Jason McCartney (USA) Saxo Bank
40Ian McLeod (Rsa) MTN Cycling
41Malcolm Elliott (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
42Christoff Van Heerden (Rsa) MTN Cycling
43Vicente Reynes (Spa) Columbia-HTC
44Simon Richardson (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
45Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
46Sondre G Sortveit (Nor) Joker Bianchi
47Ronan Mc Laughlin (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
48Jesús Hernández (Spa) Astana
49Mark O:Brien (Aus) Australian National Team
50Benny De Schrooder (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
51Jef Peeters (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
52José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana
53Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr) Team Type 1
54Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
55Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Type 1
56Travis Meyer (Aus) Australian National Team
57Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam
58Bartosz Huzarsky (Pol) ISD
59Steven Van Vooren (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
60David McCann (Irl) Irish National Team
61Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
62Chris Newton (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
63Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Saxo Bank
64Stake Vegard Laengen (Nor) Joker Bianchi
65Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
66Jetse Bol (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
67Martijn Keizer (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
68Martin Reimer (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam
69Mark Cavendish (GBr) Columbia-HTC
70Antonio Cruz (USA) BMC Racing Team
71Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
72Jack Bobridge (Aus) Australian National Team
73Timothy Roe (Aus) Australian National Team
74Sam Bennett (Irl) Irish National Team
75Juan Van Heerden (Rsa) MTN Cycling
76Stian Remme (Nor) Joker Bianchi
77Thomas Frei (Swi) BMC Racing Team
78Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
79David Fletcher (GBr) Team Halfords
80Nicholas Walker (Aus) Australian National Team
81Bradley Potgieter (Rsa) MTN Cycling0:02:43
82Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) MTN Cycling
83Tom Southam (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team0:05:30
84Pierpaolo De Negri (Ita) ISD0:06:34
85Jay Thomson (Rsa) MTN Cycling0:14:24
86Paul Griffin (Irl) Irish National Team0:14:27
87Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
88Philip Lavery (Irl) Irish National Team
89Sean Downey (Irl) Irish National Team
90Robert Hayles (GBr) Team Halfords
91Peter Williams (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
92Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1
93Dean Downing (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
94James Sampson (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
95Morris Possoni (Ita) Columbia-HTC
96Dale Appleby (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
97Jackson Stewart (USA) BMC Racing Team
98Dan Craven (Nam) Rapha Condor Cycling Team
99Shawn Milne (Usa) Team Type 1
100Mark Cassidy (Irl) An Post - Sean Kelly Team
101Maurice Vrijmoed (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
102Andrew Roche (Irl) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta
103Martyn Irvine (Irl) Irish National Team
104Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam
105Ken Hanson (Usa) Team Type 1
106Michael Creed (Usa) Team Type 1
107Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Columbia-HTC
108Ino Ilesic Aldo (Slo) Team Type 10:21:19

Points classification
1Russell Downing (GBr) Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta15pts
2Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Saxo Bank14
3Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank13
4Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo TestTeam12
5Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana11
6Marco Pinotti (Ita) Columbia-HTC10
7Frederik Wilman (Nor) Joker Bianchi9
8Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) ISD8
9Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Columbia-HTC7
10Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank7
11Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) ISD6
12Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Joker Bianchi6
13Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor Cycling Team5
14Jay Thomson (Rsa) MTN Cycling5
15Igor Abakoumov (Bel) ISD5
16Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team5
17Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team4
18Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD3
19Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam2
20Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam2
21Ino Ilesic Aldo (Slo) Team Type 12
22Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Joker Bianchi1
23Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 11

Mountains classification
1Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Type 122pts
2Jay Thomson (Rsa) MTN Cycling21
3Philip Lavery (Irl) Irish National Team12
4Marco Pinotti (Ita) Columbia-HTC10
5Craig Lewis (USA) Columbia-HTC9
6José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana8
7Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana7
8Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD6
9Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank4
10Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank2
11Morris Possoni (Ita) Columbia-HTC2
12Shawn Milne (Usa) Team Type 12
13Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana1
14Michael Schär (Swi) Astana1
15Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam1

Young rider classification
1Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank5:10:34
2Frederik Wilman (Nor) Joker Bianchi0:00:04
3Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank0:00:10
4Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:19
5Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team

Teams classification
1Team Saxo Bank15:32:00
2ISD - Neri0:00:24
3Cervélo Test Team
4Astana
5Joker Bianchi0:02:20
6Team Columbia - HTC
7BMC Racing Team0:02:35
8Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta0:04:15
9Rabobank Continental Team0:04:31
10Team Halfords0:06:27
11Australian National Team
12Rapha Condor Cycling Team
13An Post Sean Kelly Team
14MTN Cycling
15Team Type 10:18:32
16Irish National Team

 

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