Third time 'Luucy' for Bugter in Rás stage win
Having finished second on the opening two stages of this year's Rás Tailteann, Dutchman Luuc Bugter of the Delta Cycling Team finally made it to the top step of the podium at the end of stage three in Listowel yesterday, but only just.
In a blanket finish, Bugter had just inches to spare on second-placed German Lucas Carstensen (Bike Aid), Belgium's Lindsay de Vylder and Robert Jon McCarthy of Team Ireland.
"After two second places we finally got the win today so we are a happy team now," said the rider from Rotterdam afterwards.
"We've been close with podium places in a lot of races this year but this is our first win of the season so I'm very happy."
Bugter's Dutch squad were active from the off yesterday, placing Jason van Dalen in a six-man move that had gained over two-and-a-half minutes by Foynes after 79km, making Van Dalen virtual leader.
Also up there were British trio Rory Townsend (Canyon Eisberg), Martin Frazer (Saint Piran) and Sam Tillett (Wales), American Curtis White (Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis) and lone county rider Seán O'Malley (Galway Gerry McVeigh Cars -DoorMotion).
With Delta Cycling playing their card up front, BikeAid, KTM and the Swiss National Team took up the slack behind.
The breakaway splintered in the closing stages, Townsend and Van Dalen were last to be caught with 8km remaining and a heaving peloton surged into Listowel.
"It went well for us because we had one guy in the break," said stage winner Bugter. "They got caught with eight kilometres to go and then I knew the team was going to bring me to the front. I had good legs to win the sprint, so it was a perfect day."
Swiss rider Cyrille Thiery retained the yellow jersey of race leader for a third day and was happy with the way the day panned out.
"Today it was quite an easy day for me," said the 27-year-old race leader. "I have a great team here. I didn't have to make so much effort, and I think I saved some energy for tomorrow's stage."
With Ladies View, Molls Gap and the Healy Pass among eight climbs to be contested on today's 153km fourth stage to Glengarriff, that's probably a good thing.