Race leader Francesco Reda fumes at 'stench of shit' after being thrown out of Rás
Controversy surrounded the end of the second stage of the An Post Rás in Tipperary as overnight leader Francesco Reda was ejected from the race.
Reda, who had finished safely in the bunch at the end of the stage, was disqualified for holding onto his team car in order to rejoin the peloton after a puncture earlier in the stage.
The Italian former WorldTour professional and his team manager Alberto Elli were irate, confronting race commissaires on the podium and threatening to pull the rest of the team from the race.
Their complaints fell on deaf ears however and with Reda disqualified, second overall Lukas Postlberger of the Austrian Tirol team moved up one place to don the yellow jersey of race leader.
Francesco Reda's reaction to being DQ'd from the Rás. His tweet has since been deleted. pic.twitter.com/YTKv4JURfL— Cillian Kelly (@irishpeloton) May 18, 2015
He took to Twitter to voice his frustrations and later deleted the message.
For a long time yesterday however, three Irishmen dominated proceedings on the 137-kilometre stage.
Brian McCrystal of Louth Asea, Simon Ryan of Limerick Mego and Dominic Jelfs (Madison Genesis) went clear after 35kms of racing and after a hard-fought battle to open a decent gap, the reaction from the bunch faded and the trio managed to build up a maximum lead of six minutes, making McCrystal virtual race leader on the road after 80kms.
It was only then that the peloton came to life again to take up the chase. Ryan was the first of the three leaders to crack a few kilometres later, and with Jelfs following suit shortly after Cahir, McCrystal was on his own to fend off the fast-finishing peloton in the last 40kms.
The Dundalk native, a former Leeds United centre-half and professional triathlete, dug deep and managed to hold the pro teams off going over the third-category climb in Aherlow after 130km before succumbing to fatigue and being caught on the descent with just 5kms to go. A bunch sprint finish into Tipperary saw Aaron Gate from Sean Kelly's An Post Chain Reaction team outsprint compatriot Alex Frame of the New Zealand national team, Italian Davide Vigano (Team IDEA) and the rest of the field to claim a fine stage win.
"I was happy to get over that pretty tough climb near the end," sighed the Kiwi, who won the white jersey of best young rider as part of his national squad in the 2011 Rás. "It was a really fast finish, slightly downhill with a tailwind. I got a great lead-out from my team-mate Josh (Edmondson) and managed to hit the line first. We have a great team here and we're looking forward to the rest of the week now."
With overnight leader Reda thrown out, a surprised Postlberger donned the yellow jersey on the podium afterwards.
"I didn't expect this," said the 23-year-old Austrian. "I think my team are going to hate me for the next six days but we're going to try and keep it to the end."
British pro Mike Cuming lies second one minute and three seconds back while Belgian Jaap de Man of Team 3M wears the white jersey of best young rider in third place overall at 1min 4secs.
For the second day running, Ian Richardson of the Dublin UCD team took the best county rider prize, finishing 13th.
Ian Richardson remains the best of the Irish.