Maes is best Kerry rider in Rás Mumhan
Killarney cyclist Richard Maes finished the highest placed Kerry rider in the Kerry Group Rás Mumhan four-day race that finished on East Monday with Irish man Ben Healy finishing the race in yellow to claim the title of Ras Mumhan champion.
Sunday's final stage was run off in beautiful sunshine in front of a big crowd that greeted the riders as they raced the final stage of 115km around Beaufort and Killorglin. It was another thrilling day of racing that saw the stage won by JB Murphy ahead of Sean Hahessy, making it two stage wins in a row for Team Leinster. Ben Healy of Team Ireland retained his yellow jersey to take the overall title of Kerry Group Ras Mumhan 2019 champion.
Murphy and Hahessy (Dan Morrissey MIG Pactimo) escaped early in the day and held their slim advantage over 15 chasers on the finishing circuits. Giving it their all over the last five laps, their perseverance and brave effort stretched their lead up to 25 seconds but with the heat being turned on behind their advantage was reduced to 12 seconds at the finish line.
In the final dash up the hill in Killorglin in front of massive cheering crowds Murphy took the win in an exciting two-man final sprint from his breakaway compatriot Hahessy who was awarded the Most Competitive Rider award for his efforts.
They were followed home 12 seconds later by the Dutchman Alex Konijn in third place with just a short gap to the yellow jersey group behind. In the chase group, Alex Luhrs of Team Ribble Pro Cycling (UK) led the sprint for fourth, ahead of Chris McNamara of Team Surrey league (UK) and the effervescent Paidi O'Brien of Team Killarney in sixth place.
Luhrs had been in yellow for the first two days of the race having won Stage One on Good Friday on the roads around Sliabh Luachra in East Kerry, starting and finishing in Killorglin. The race was led home by a break of three riders sprinting it out for the stage honors after just over two hours of racing, chased hard all the way to the finish line by a group of 20, with Luhrs crossing the line ahead of team mate Daniel Bigham and Ben Healy in third. They were followed in by Mark Dowling of Team Leinster, Chris McNamara, Jack Freeman (Team Surrey League) and last year's Ras Mumhan winner Conor Hennebry of Team Dan Morrissey - MIG - Pactimo 7th
Saturday's stage of 130km around North Kerry and West Limerick included eight climbs and was won in impressive style by Flying Dutchman Matthew Overste from the evergreen Paidi O'Brien in a bunch sprint up the hill in Athea. Luhrs retained his yellow jersey after his team did a great job of controlling the race at all the critical points. Thomas Walsh (Killorglin CC) wore the blue jersey as Second Category leader.
Mark Dowling won Sunday's Queen stage of 155km over a number of categorised climbs around South Kerry, including the legendary Coom an Easpaig, with Healy taking the yellow jersey off the shoulders of Luhrs.
Healy and former Ras Mumhan winner Dowling opened up nearly a minute advantage over a group of seven chasers including Luhrs and they held the advantage all the way to the line with Dowling taking the stage and Healy taking over the yellow jersey.
Final classification jerseys and overall winners
Yellow Jersey / Overall winner: Ben Healy - Team Ireland
2nd Overall: Alex Luhrs - Team Ribble Pro Cycling (UK)
3rd Overall: Mark Dowling - Team Leinster Cycling
Green Jersey, Points Classification: Alex Luhrs - Team Ribble Pro Cycling (UK)
Polka Dot Jersey, King of the Mountains Classification: Daniel Bigham - Team Ribble Pro Cycling (UK)
White Jersey, U-23 Classification: Ben Healy - Team Ireland
Blue Jersey - 2nd Category classification: Cian May - Team Leinster Cycling
Overall Team winners: Team Ribble Pro Cycling (UK)
Highest placed Kerry rider: Richard Maes - Team Strata 3 Velo Revolution