Teggart loses grip on yellow as Gough salvages stage for An Post
It was a day of mixed emotions for the An Post Chain Reaction team on stage five of the An Post Ras yesterday as Kiwi Regan Gough gave Sean Kelly's men their second stage win of the race in Dungloe, but Matthew Teggart lost his grip on the yellow jersey.
Gough, the reigning New Zealand road race and time trial champion, was part of a six-strong breakaway group that dominated the day's proceedings.
Alongside him were double track world champion Cameron Meyer of Australia, British pros Ed Laverack and James Gullen of JLT Condor and Dutch duo Ike Groen and Daan Meijers (Delta Cycling Rotterdam).
With Groen best placed of the group in third overall and Gullen lying in sixth - both on the same time as overnight race leader Teggart - most of the break were keen to put as much time into the peloton as possible and had built up a whopping seven minutes advantage with around 40km remaining, while Gough sat at the back of the group in defence of his team-mate yellow jersey.
An attack by Laverack with four kilometres to go put his team leader Gullen's main rival Groen under pressure, and both Laverack and the Dutchman blew up soon after, losing over a minute on the run-in as the other four contested the stage win.
In the sprint to the line, the fresher Gough easily outpaced Dutchman Meijers for the win with Meyer third.
"It was a little bit of a difficult situation for me," admitted the Kiwi. "I made the group and the yellow jersey didn't, so I just had to sit at the back and click tickets. I had to just hold tight and was definitely one of the fresher ones at the finish, not having to ride all day.
"But we had to take a positive out of today and to not have won the stage would have been very disappointing so job done."
Having worked hard all day to mount a challenge for the race lead, Gullen lost six seconds in the sprint to the line, finishing fourth, but with the next group finishing over four and a half minutes later, the 27-year-old Yorkshireman had done enough to don the yellow jersey.
Gullen won a stage at the Tour of Taiwan earlier this year and now leads Groen by a minute and five seconds, with Meyer third at 2.35.
An Post's Damien Shaw is now best placed Irishman in fifth overall at 4.32 while Carrick-On-Suir youngster Michael O'Loughlin (Team Wiggins) jumped into ninth yesterday at 7.13 and now wears the white jersey of best placed U-23 rider.