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Cavendish wins in Killarney

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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