New Zealand riders Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate have retained their grip on two leader’s jerseys with two days remaining in the An Post Ras Cycling Tour of Ireland today.
Archbold, 10th in today’s 172km sixth stage to Tramore on Ireland’s southern coast, has now claimed the outright lead in the sprinters’ points jersey while teammate Aaron Gate, 18th in the peloton, remains the clear leader in the overall classification for under-23 riders.
They are part of the BikeNZ’s under-23 endurance track squad competing in Europe as preparation for next year’s campaign towards the London Olympics.
It proved a tough day for the New Zealand riders who wanted to put pressure on the leader Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post Sean Kelly) who also led in the points jersey. He started the day 1m31s ahead of Gate on general classification and one point up on Archbold in the points race.
Archbold bridged up to a telling break after 87kms on one of the main climbs today before Gate also came across the gap with the yellow jersey group to form an eventual pack of 30 who cleared out to over three minutes.
There was a further key break 50kms from the finish with Gate this time chasing to bridge the 50 second gap as his chance to put time into the leader. His move was countered by the An Post Sean Kelly team who brought Bagdonas up to the chasers leaving the four lead riders clear to fight out the finish. The main gains came from Ukraine rider Antoliy Pakhtusov who finished second today to move to second overall, only 32 seconds behind Bagdonas.
Archbold jumped off the front of the chasers to finish in 10th place 1m47s behind the winner to claim the lead in the points jersey. Gate had to be content with finishing in the peloton and dropped one spot to sixth on general classification but remains well clear as the leading under-23 rider.
Tomorrow’s penultimate stage heads back north towards Dublin covering 161kms with category one and category climbs in an undulating day to Kildare.
The eight-day race includes 185 riders from 12 international teams along with a host of British and Irish teams battling over 1247 kilometres with 28 categorised climbs.
Ras Tour of Ireland, Stage 6, 172km Blarney to Tramore: Marcin Bialoblocki (POL, Britain Motorpoint) 3:35:55, 1; Antoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine Lampre) at 5s, 2; Wouter Sybrandy (NED, Sigma) at 10s, 3. Also New Zealanders: Shane Archbold at 1:47, 10; Aaron Gate at 1:54. 18; Cameron Karwowski at 6:53, 33; Myron Simpson at 23:14, 112.
General classification: Gediminas Bagdonas (LTU, An Post Sean Kelly) 23:59:52, 1; Pakhtusovukr at 32s, 2; Sheydyk Olek (Ukraine Lampre) at 1:13, 3. Also: Gate at 1:31, 6; Archbold at 2:10, 9; Karwowski at 29:02, 32; Simpson at 36:39, 41.
Under 23: Gate 24:01:23, 1; Archbold at 39s, 2; S Downey (IRE) at 1:43, 3.
Points: Archbold 56, Bagdonas 53 points, 1; T Horton (GBR) 36, 3.