BikeNZ Olympian Shane Archbold has taken no time to strike for his new professional team with victory in stage two of the An Post Ras Tour of Ireland today.
The former world championship medallist in the omnium sprinted his way to a narrow victory for his new Belgium-based UCI Continental team An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly.
The Kiwi rider led the sprint coming into the final stretch and edged out the challenge from three international riders in the 160km stage from Longford to Nenagh near Limerick.
The eight-stage travels from around much of Ireland and involves a number of international teams, with fellow New Zealanders Michael Northey and James Williamson also competing for their UCI Continental team NODE 4 Giordana Racing.
It was an overcast day but the rain held off and with no categorised climbs, a sprint finish was predicted.
Two early breaks were caught before a select group of seven joined a four-strong break 5km from the finish with Archbold proving the quickest in the dash to the line.
“I’m thrilled with the win. I was injured at the start of the year and haven’t had too much racing with the way the injury fell but my form has come good. I spent the last three weeks in Holland getting into good shape so it seems to have paid off,” Archbold said.
“It was a great team effort today. We missed the vital breakaway yesterday so we were disappointed about that and made sure we had two riders in every breakaway today. Thankfully it worked and we’ll just keep on focusing on stage wins for the rest of the week.”
Fellow BikeNZ rider Aaron Gate is also a member of An Post Sean Kelly but not included in the line-up this week, having been a member of the national team racing in the Olympias Tour in The Netherlands.