Flying Dutchman Van Schip sails to stage victory in Newport
A late attack from Dutchman Jan-Willem Van Schip saw him sail clear of four former breakaway partners to claim victory on stage two of the An Post Rás in Newport yesterday.
The Delta Cycling Rotterdam rider was part of a five-man breakaway that went clear with just 20km of the 143km stage remaining and also included British pros Ed Laverack (JLT Condor) and Alex Richardson (Bike Channel UK-Canyon) and Irish duo Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction) and Mark Dowling (Strata3-Velo Revolution).
This quintet built up a maximum lead of just over a minute before a strong chase from the Danish squad of race leader Nicolai Nielsen cut their lead in half with just 5km to go.
Sensing the danger, the flying Dutchman waited for the wind direction to change in his favour before setting sail for solo victory with 5km to go.
While the other four were reeled in before the line, Van Schip held off the rest of the field to take the stage win by seven seconds.
"The aim was to go for stages here," said the delighted Dutchman afterwards.
"My climbing is not too good but I'm really happy with today's result. I knew the wind direction would change as we made the turn in the last few kilometres and I decided to just go for it.
"I didn't think I'd be able to stay clear but I kept saying to myself 'just one more k, just one more k', and thankfully I had the legs to stay to the finish."
For the second day in a row British sprinter Chris Latham of Team Wiggins led the peloton across the line, this time beating Frenchman Yannis Yssaad (Armee de Terre) into third with Irish-based Italian Matteo Cigala of Cork Aqua Blue Sport in fourth and Kerry's Richard Maes taking the county rider prize with a fine sprint for tenth on the stage.
Overnight leader Nicolai Nielsen held onto his yellow jersey for another day courtesy of the late chase by his Danish Riwal Platform team.
"It was super aggressive right from the start and a bit windier than we had hoped for," said the Dane afterwards. "We tried to bring the break back and thankfully we got them close enough to keep the jersey, which was the plan for today. I don't know how well I'm going to climb when we hit the mountains but we wanted to keep the jersey today, so I'm happy we did that."
Nielsen holds a nine-second lead over current King of the Mountains Dennis Bakker with Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz of the An Post Chain Reaction team third on the same time.
Chris McGlinchey of Cycling Ulster remains best placed of the Irish in seventh place overall, 28 seconds back.