Cycling: O'Brien victorious, Clarke nabs yellow jersey
Cork sprinter Paidi O'Brien took victory on stage three of the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan yesterday as Mayo's Patrick Clarke donned the yellow jersey of race leader with one day remaining in the international stage race.
O'Brien and Clarke had been part of a nine-man front group that went clear shortly after the first King of the Hills climb at Kilurley, around 23km into the hilly 142km stage.
Building a lead of over a minute as the race went around Valentia Island, the group also contained stage one winner and former Irish international rower Cathal Moynihan (Tralee), Eugene Moriarty and Mark Dowling of DID Dunboyne, Scotland's Jack Pullar, Andy Roche of the Isle of Man, Dutchman Sjors Dekker, and British rider Conor Ryan.
Although O'Brien, riding for the Cork based Osborne Meats/Edge Sports team, struggled with a bout of cramp on the exposed roads of Valentia, he hung on gamely as the attacks came in the final 20km.
"I had cramps in Valentia because I didn't drink on time," admitted the stage winner afterwards. "I was lucky I got a bottle of water from the team car but it took maybe 20 minutes or a half an hour for my cramps to go away then.
"I wasn't as fresh as I'd normally be. Even if I'd been seventh or eighth I'd have said it was a successful day because it was so hard, the whole group rode well."
Fraser Duncan of the Dave Kane Cycles team took his second stage win in as many days at the Tour of the North yesterday afternoon.
Having been deposed as overnight leader after the stage two morning time trial, Duncan now lies in second place overall, 11 seconds off British race leader James Gullen of the Velosure Giordana professional team.