Defending champion Bialoblocki takes dramatic stage win in Cork
Defending champion Marcin Bialoblocki of Britain Velosure Giordana saw off the challenge of Ian Bibby and Peter Williams to take a magnificent win on stage five of An Post Rás today.
The Polish rider led a breakaway of eleven riders over the line, finishing several minutes ahead of the main bunch featuring the yellow jersey leader Patrick Bevin. Clemens Fankhauser was part of that lead group, crossing the line in fifth place and now becomes leader of the overall general classification.
“Today went perfectly. I didn’t chase the guys when there was two or three kilometres to go,” Bialoblocki said afterwards.
"I sat at the back and waited. Bibby attacked at 600 metres to go and I managed to jump behind Peter (Williams) and he took me to the hill.”
“I was on the good side and I just sprinted hard and managed to get by Bibby, so it’s a great win for me and the team.”
Following yesterday’s punishing stage in the mountains, there was sure to be some tired legs this morning. Today’s route was less challenging but the riders still faced five categorised climbs before a fast finish in to Clonakilty.
The race started at a ferocious pace and going over the first climb of Coomakista, the bunch split in two, with a group of ten riders including Irishman Jack Wilson of An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly out in front. That breakaway was swallowed up as they raced through Sneem, with the peloton then dispersing in to a plethora of small groups.
Twenty riders, nine of whom were placed in the top twenty in the general classification, then attacked approaching the category three climb of Derryquinn. They established a lead of 1 minute 20 seconds over the main field, which featured yellow jersey leader Patrick Bevin. Bevin bridged the gap briefly before being dropped on the descent of the category two climb of Caha, along with ten other riders.
A break of eleven riders, including Sean Downey Alex Peters , Bialoblocki, Bibby, Williams and Fanhauser, were now clear out front. They set a frantic pace, extending their lead to a massive 8 minutes 10 seconds, with only 20 kilometres to go.
Plenty of attacks ensued from the front, with Bibby and then Italian rider Mirko Tedeschi desperately trying to stay away. Coming into the final two kilometres, it was all together once more. Bibby attacked but was chased by Williams and as they hit the bottom of the very steep uphill finish, Bialoblocki accelerated on the outside, taking the chequered flag to a roaring Clonakilty crowd.
Bialoblocki now sits at 57 seconds behind new race leader Clemens, with Alex Peters lying in second place just 11 seconds behind. Bevin lost his claim to the yellow jersey today but managed to retain the points jersey. There was no change to the remaining classifications; King of the Mountains went to Alessandro Pettiti (Italy Team Idea) once more, while Peters and Sean Lacey (Cork City Aquablue) still wear the Under-23 and County jerseys respectively.