Thursday 22 March 2018

Cycling: Missed start costs Irvine yellow jersey

Gerard Cromwell

Although he posted the fastest time of the evening, a missed start in last night's stage three time trial through the streets of Clonmel saw Martyn Irvine lose the yellow jersey at the Suir Valley 3 Day yesterday.

The National Criterium champion had been warming up on a home trainer and didn't hear his number being called to the start ramp. By the time he made it to the start, he had already lost 32 seconds.

"I was listening to the announcer and he was calling the riders up in groups of fives," said a disappointed Irvine. "Then the microphone went quiet for a while and suddenly he was calling rider No 117 to the start. I had the fastest time of the night by three seconds, but when they added on the 32 seconds I think I finished second last."

The third stage was won by An Post rider Mark McNally, the Liverpudlian posting a time of 1 min 41.77 secs over the 1.5km course, with Con Collis of Finglas Ravens putting in a fantastic ride to take second in 1.42.34.

The biggest beneficiary on the night though was Andy Roche of the Isle of Man. Roche finished sixth on the stage and now leads the race by a single second from Conor Murphy of Eurocycles.

"I didn't expect to have the jersey tonight," smiled Roche. "Obviously with Martyn missing his start, it's messed things up a bit for him but it's still very close. I've only got one second to Conor Murphy and then there are maybe 15 guys within 40 or 50 seconds so it's very tight and tomorrow will be very interesting."

Irvine swapped his yellow jersey for the green of points leader after the time trial. Having taken victory on stage one, Irvine then finished third in a mass gallop to the line in Clonmel on the second stage earlier yesterday. That had been enough to keep him in the lead before the time trial mishap.

The morning's 93km stage was won by 39-year-old Isle of Man rider Marty Warren, who benefited from a good position going into the twisty finale and went full pelt into the final corners to narrowly beat Michael O'Reilly, of The Edge Sports.

"One of the An Post riders went up the outside in the last kilometre. I hopped on his wheel and he dropped me off in second place just before the bridge," said Warren. "I kept my head down and went full gas for the last kilometre. I knew there were a few corners before the finish and I just drilled it into them. I died like mad but luckily I hung on to the line."

Having shown potential as a teenager growing up in Douglas, Warren suddenly gave up cycling for 20 years and only came back to the sport aged 36.

"I'm absolutely delighted, although I'm a bit shocked as well because I wasn't feeling particularly good at all. I brought my team-mate Graeme Hatcher to the front for the climb of The Pike and it was lucky I did because by the top, I was last man in the bunch and I was swinging for the rest of the day."

A disappointed O'Reilly said: "I took my chance from about two kilometres out, but I started dying a death with about a kilometre to go. I got passed by one of the Isle of Man guys but nobody else came around me. There were three or four 90-degree bends in the last kilometre and when we came out of that, I was fairly on my limit but I started sprinting for the last 150 metres.

"I threw my bike but I couldn't get around the guy from the Isle of Man."

Irish Independent

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