M Donnelly Junior Tour
REUS WINS M DONNELLY JUNIOR TOUR; VAN HEEREN TAKES FINAL STAGE
The highly promising Dutch rider Kai Reus comfortably held onto the yellow jersey on today's final stage of the M. Donnelly Junior Tour, a fifty mile road race which started and finished in Waterford. A constant stream of attacks were launched during the high-speed, aggressive stage but Reus calmly sat in the midst of the bunch and bided his time before making a daring bid for success with one kilometre to go.
He raced clear with a strong surge but was overhauled with just 100 metres remaining, when South African rider Juan Van Heerden nipped by to take a fine win. Second place on the stage went to London Team rider Ben Crawforth, with Reus taking third and thus securing victory in the points classification.
Colm Crawley (Stamullen M. Donnelly) was best of the Irish in placing fifth on the stage, while Killarney's Richard Maes was one place further back in sixth.
In the overall standings, Theo Hardwick of the Ireland Stena Line team was the leading home rider in fifth place. His team-mate Barry Woods was sixth, and both of them also took stage wins during the prestigious six day event. South African Leon Nel won the mountains classification while Crawforth was best first year junior. The Tempo BMV Veldhoven squad were first in the team rankings, ahead of Ireland Stena Line.
Today's action began with a flurry of attacks, moves which opened gaps over the main field but which were soon hauled back. Ireland Stena Line's Mark Cassidy jumped clear at the drop of the flag, and once he was hauled in his team-mate Barry Woods raced away on a short-lived attack. However the first significant move did not occur until 17 miles into the stage, when six riders opened up a 22 second gap. Three Irish were present - Eoin Concannon (Killorglin), Paul Brady (McNally Swords) and Bray Wheelers' David Pomeroy, and together with Egan Tarr (South Africa B), Jerome Copple (VC D'Annemasse) and Ryan Bonser of the North West Divison squad, they held the bunch at bay for several miles.
Brady had the misfortune to drop out of the break with mechanical problems, but Cycling Ulster's Peter Hawkins brought their number back up to six when he succeeed in bridging across the diminishing gap just after the riders completed the first of two laps. The effort was however in vain; two miles into the second lap, the bunch closed down the move.
A succession of small attacks followed, with Irish representation by James Lawless (Usher IRC), Aidan O'Shea (Killorglin), Hawkins and Pomeroy, but these too were short-lived. A significant move did however go with seven miles remaining, when yellow jersey Reus, Woods and USA rider Jesse Anthony combined to rip clear of the field. All stage winners in this year's race, the firepower was certainly there to go all the way to the finish but after two miles the frantically-chasing main field succeeded in getting across.
Dataphonics rider Bruce Edgar launced an impressive counter-attack on the long downhill run towards the line but he too had little joy. With one mile remaining Reus tried once more, seeking to take his third stage win of the race, but the yellow jersey was dramatically overhauled inside the final 200 metres by the speeding South African Juan Van Heerden. Five lengths clear at the line, the jubulant first year junior was delighted to get the win, particularly as he missed out due to a near crash two days ago.
'I am really happy to get this win', he said. 'I was clear with 100 metres to go in Carrick on Suir (on Friday) but a car got in my way on the last corner. I glanced off the side of it and while I didn't fall, I lost all my momentum and the other riders in the break got by me.'
'My speciality probably is in the hills but I decided to have a go today with one kilometre remaining as I was trying to make up the two seconds gap on the first-year junior leader. Kai Reus went as we were approaching the line, but I was able to get across and by him and got the stage. Today was very fast and there was a lot of attacks but my team did a lot of work to keep it together. I had good legs and got the stage win.'
'I really enjoyed the race, even if it was different than I expected. We came thinking it would be easier, but the standard and the course made it quite hard. It was very good, though - very well organised, and with a good route.'
Reus was similarly pleased. The promising second-year junior took two stages, the points jersey and the overall victory. He is currently second in the world junior rankings and is clearly one to watch for the future.
'I was aiming to do well today as I was trying to get more points for the green jersey competition', he said. 'I have really enjoyed the Junior Tour...it was a bit strange at first as there was a very different racing pattern than what I am used to. But as the week went on I got used to the style of racing and was able to relax a bit.'
'I would like to come back and race in Ireland again in the future. It has been a great experience, and I would like to thank the organisers for their kindness and for putting on a great event.'
M. Donnelly Junior Tour stage 6, Waterford (sponsored by Martin Donnelly): 1, Juan Van Heerden (South African Cycling Academy B); 2, B. Crawforth (London Team); 3, K. Reus (Tempo BMV Veldhoven B);4, M. Cavandish (Dataphonics); 5, C. Crawley (Stamullen M. Donnelly); 6, R. Maes (Killarney CC); 7, B.Woods (Ireland Stena Line); 8, Jesse Anthony (USA); 9, G. Conte (VC D'Annemasse A); 10, N. Cooper (Reading) all same time
Team: 1, Stamullen M. Donnelly 5 hours 44 mins 24 secs; 2, VC D'Annemasse A; 3, Dataphonics, both same time
Final overall: 1, Kai Reus (Tempo BMV Veldhoven); 2, J. Anthony (USA) at 2 mins 10 secs; 3, L. Nel (South Africa Cycling Academy) at 2 mins 11 secs; 4, Viera, at 2 mins 28 secs; 5, Hardwick, at 2 mins 29 secs; 6, B. Woods (Ireland Stena Line) at 2 mins 35 secs; 7, Crawforth, at 2 mins 36; 8, R. Muscat (Malta); 9, J. Coppel (VC D'Annemasse A); 10, R. Maes (Kiilarney) all at 2 mins 37 secs
Points: 1, Reus, 72; 2, Crawforth, 63; 3, Anthony, 61 Mountains: 1, Leon Nel (South African Cycling Academy A) 42; 2, G. Conte (VC D'Annemasse A) 40; 3, M. Mandemakers (Tempo BMV) 32 First year junior: 1, Crawforth; 2, Mucat; 3, Coppel, both at 1 sec Team: Tempo BMV Veldhoven 35 hours 48 mins 48 secs; 2, Ireland Stena Line, at 1 min 18 secs; 3, VC D'Annemasse, at 1 min 26 secs
HARDWICK WINS STAGE 5 OF M DONNELLY JUNIOR TOUR
Ireland Stena Line rider Theo Hardwick took a fine stage win on today's fifth leg of the M. Donnelly Junior Tour, a sixty mile race starting and finishing in Clonmel. Hardwick broke clear with USA rider Brad Viera with six miles remaining and built up a healthy lead over the main bunch, winning the sprint to the line to take his first ever Junior Tour stage win. The rest of the field crossed the line some 9 seconds later, including the ongoing yellow jersey Kai Reus of the Dutch Tempo BMV squad and the rest of the main contenders.
Hardwick’s Ireland Stena Line team-mate Frazer Duncan set the tone for what would be an aggressive day of racing when he went clear with Cycling Ulster’s Peter Hawkins just two miles into the stage. Arguably hampered by the scorching temperatures in recent days, the Irish riders were more prominent on this warm but overcast stage and although Duncan and Hawkins were soon dragged back, Killorglin’s Eoin Concannon raced clear at the five mile mark and built a fifteen second lead.
After he too was reeled in, Duncan tried again and had opened up a thirty-second advantage over the bunch by the time the riders started the climb of the Vee. South African Larens Badenhorst and Kanturk’s Christy Higgins rode well to bridge the gap, but the effort proved to be for nothing as the field came back up to them shortly afterwards. Hardwick then seized the moment to launch his own bid, briefly going clear in a small group.
Hauled back, he tried again going over the top of the climb and once more on the descent, succeeding in getting a gap with Viera. However the bunch once again bridged the gap and while eight riders did go clear, neither the yellow jersey nor Hardwick, Woods, Duncan or their Ireland Stena Line team-mate Mark Cassidy were present.
With panic bells ringing behind, the octet set about building their lead. Present were Viera, Bruce Edgar (Dataphonics), Pete Williams (North West Division), Maarten Mandemakers (Tempo BMV) and four Irish riders, namely Hawkins, Mark Nestor (Stamullen M. Donnelly), Eoin Concannon (Killorglin) and McNally Swords’ Derek Bourke.
By the halfway point this group had a 50 second lead and things were looking serious for the bunch. However much of the chasing had been done by a small collection of riders and once bigger numbers started amassing at the front, the break began to come back. Viera, Mandemakers and Williams jumped clear just before the junction was made and re-established a considerable lead, but with ten miles remaining the field reformed as one.
That set things up for a fine attack by Hardwick, who had suffered in the heat on day two but was getting stronger as the race progressed. He jumped clear with a dogged, determined Viera and had built a forty second lead with three miles remaining, ensuring that the stage honours would go to one of them. The Irishman then proved faster in the final sprint, pipping Viera to the line, with the main field being led home nine seconds later by the first year junior leader Crawforth, who was impressively strong today.
Reus was fifth on the stage while Killarney's Richard Maes and Ireland Stena Line rider Barry Woods were sixth and seventh. Woods’ unlucky team-mate Frazer Duncan trailed in over 21 minutes down, once again the victim of a crash.
In terms of the overall standings, Dutchman Kai Reus continues to lead overall, with Viera and Hardwick the only two to move up the general classification today. Hardwick is now the best placed Irishman in fifth, two minutes and 29 seconds in arrears, while his team-mate Woods is sixth and Maes now tenth.
‘I felt good today,’ said the delighted stage winner. ‘I was a little disappointed with my overall position and so decided to have a go. The plan was to go in the last ten kilometres and try to get some time; when I heard we had 30 seconds as we approached the finish, I knew we were safe. The other rider (Brad Viera) was going well today but I had great legs, so I was pretty confident.’
‘I am feeling better as the race goes on. I think tomorrow’s stage won’t make a huge difference, though, and Reus has the win pretty much sewn up. I lost a lot of time on the first stage – the team car couldn’t get up to us to give me a bottle and I was very dehydrated, but since then I have been improving.’
‘I am very happy with this stage win, it is my first in the Junior Tour. After this I am hoping to get selected for the junior world championships, and also am aiming to do well in the nationals at the end of August.’
Another who surely has the world championships in Hamilton, Canada, in mind is Reus. Second in the world ranking for juniors, he has been riding impressively well this week and is now all but certain to win the M. Donnelly Junior Tour when it concludes tomorrow with a 50 mile race in Waterford. Today he seemed relaxed, confident and laid-back. Tomorrow, he may well try to take his third stage win and finish off the race in style.
M. Donnelly Junior Tour stage 5, Clonmel - Clonmel: 1, Theo Hardwick (Ireland-Stena Line) 60 miles in 2 hours 19 mins 5 secs; 2, B. Viera (Hot Tubes USA) same time; 3, B. Crawforth (London Team) at 9 secs; 4, J. Van Heerden (South Africa B); 5, K. Reus (Tempo BMV Veldhoven B); 6, R. Maes (Killarney); 7, B. Woods (Team Ireland); 8, J. Anthony (Hot Tubes USA); 9, B. Edgar (Dataphonics); 10, Z. Taylor (Hot Tubes USA) all same time
Prime: Eoin Concannon (Killorglin Credit Union)
King of the mountains: The Vee, cat 1: 1, Nell, 12; 2, M. Mandemakers (Tempo BMV) 10; 3, G. Conte (VC D’Annemasse) 8
Team: 1, USA Hot Tubes; 2, Ireland-Stena Line; 3, Dataphonics
Overall: 1, Kai Reus (Tempo BMV Veldhoven) 9 hours 59 mins 19 secs; 2, J. Anthony (USA) at 2 mins 10 secs; 3, L. Nel (South Africa Cycling Academy) at 2 mins 11 secs; 4, Viera, at 2 mins 28 secs; 5, Hardwick, at 2 mins 29 secs; 6, B. Woods (Ireland Stena Line) at 2 mins 35 secs; 7, Crawforth, at 2 mins 36; 8, R. Muscat (Malta) at 2 mins 37 secs; 9, J. Coppel (VC D’Annemasse A); 10, R. Maes (Killarney CC) both same time
Points: 1, Reus, 59; 2, Anthony, 53; 3, Crawforth, 49 Mountains: 1, Nel, 42; 2, Conte, 40; 3, Mandemakers, 32 First year junior: Crawforth; 2, Muscat; 3, Coppel, both at 1 sec
Team: 1, Tempo BMV; 2, Ireland-Stena Line; 3, VC D’Annemasse A
ANTHONY WINS, REUS STAYS IN YELLOW
US rider Jesse Anthony sprinted to a fine win on today's fourth stage of the M. Donnelly Junior Tour, edging out Frenchman Olivier Costechareyre and Team Ireland-Stena Line rider Barry Woods at the end of the 54 mile stage.
The race was based on a tough hilly circuit around Carrick On Suir and offered the first real chance to reshuffle the general classification, but although a group of 22 riders got clear on the final lap, there was little change in the overall standings. Dutch rider Kai Reus continues to lead overall, two minutes and ten seconds ahead of Anthony and one further second in advance of South African Leon Nel. Mark Cavandish of the Dataphonics team did however drop away, resulting in Ireland-Stena Line’s Barry Woods moving back up into fourth. Fellow Irishmen Richard Maes (Killarney CC) and Paul McMahon (Bray Wheelers) also move up, breaking into the top ten overall.
The stage began with the now-customary early attack by Usher IRC’s James Lawless, who burst from the pack with Frenchman Gwenael Conte within the first mile. Lawless fell away after two miles but Conte climbed strongly up the stage’s first category climb, a heavily-wooded 3 mile gradient, and crested the summit one minute clear. He was however hauled back by the end of that lap, paving the way for an attack by Maarte Mandemakers and Brad Viera, who pooled their strength in a Dutch-American alliance and opened up a near-two minute lead.
Swords rider Paul Brady shot clear of the main bunch on the fast descent towards Carrick and, riding impressively, got to within twenty seconds of the leading duo. His charge was cut short by the cruel slopes of the first category climb, which saw him drop back again and be mopped up by the main bunch. Race leader Reus and second-placed Anthony both had riders from their team in the break, but their own tussle saw them set a rapid pace up the climb and force a 22 rider split, spelling the end of the general classification ambitions for many riders and, indirectly, the chances of Mandemakes and Viera up front. The two doggedly raced towards the line in Carrick On Suir but were absorbed with just one kilometre remaining, paving the way for the big group finish.
South Africa’s Juan Van Heerden was first into the final corner, and with the line just 100 metres after that, his advantage looked sufficient to take the stage. However he overshot the bend and glanced off a car, enabling Anthony, Costechareyre, Woods and the rest of the riders to get by him and fight it out for the honours. Mark Nestor of the Stamullen M. Donnelly team was a fine eighth, while Maes, McMahon, Mark Cassidy, Theo Harwick (both Ireland Stena Line) and Peter Hawkins (Cycling Ulster) were the five other Irish riders in that 22 rider move which finished over a minute clear of the bunch.
‘I am really glad to win a stage here in the Junior Tour,’ said Anthony. ‘I am second overall too, so it has been good for me. I took it easy for the first two laps, as no real dangerous riders went clear, but then went for it a bit on the last lap. I didn’t want to do too much as I had a team-mate up the road, but at the same time I wanted to try to get time on some of the other riders in the general classification.’
One of those he would have liked to have distanced was Reus, but the Dutchman showed little sign of weakness. He remains two minutes and ten seconds clear of Anthony, and with just two stages left, is increasingly likely to run out as the winner of the six-day contest. The M. Donnelly Junior Tour continues tomorrow with a 55 mile race, which both starts and finishes in Clonmel. The prestigious international contest finishes on Sunday in Waterford.
M. Donnelly Junior Tour stage 4, Carrick On Suir: 1, Jesse Anthony (USA) 56 miles in 2 hours 19 mins 6 secs; 2, O. Costechareyre (VC D'Annemasse A); 3, B. Woods (Ireland Stena Line); 4, F. Blanchard (VC D'Annemasse A); 5, L. Nel (South African Cycling Academy A); 6, R. Bonser (North West Division); 7, Q. Ferreira (South African Cycling Academy A); 8, M. Nestor (Stamullen M. Donnelly) all same time
Primes: KOM Cat 1, lap 1: 1, Gwenael Conte (VC D’Annemasse A) 12 points; 2, P. McMahon (Bray Wheelers) 10; 3, J. Van Heerden (South African Cycling Academy B) 8. KOM cat 3, lap 1: 1, Conte, 5; 2, Nel, 3; 3, Anthony, 1. KOM cat 1, lap 2: 1, Peter Hawkins (Cycling Ulster) 12 points; 2, Ferreira, 10; 3, Anthony, 8. KOM cat 3, lap 2: Maarte Mandemakers (Tempo BMV Veldhoven A), 5; 2, B. Viera (USA), 3; 3, Nel, 1. KOM cat 1, lap 3: 1, Mandemakers, 12; 2, Viera, 10; 3, Costechareyre, 8. KOM cat 3, lap 3: 1, Mandemakers, 5; 2, Viera, 3; 3, Nel, 1
Team: 1, VC D’Annemasse A; 2, Stena Team Ireland; 3, Tempo BMV Veldhoven A
Overall: 1, Reus; 2, J. Anthony (USA) at 2 mins 10 secs; 3, L. Nel (South Africa Cycling Academy) at 2 mins 11 secs; 4, B. Woods (Ireland) at 2 mins 35 secs; 5, B. Crawforth (London Team) at 2 mins 36 secs; 6, R. Muscat (Malta) 2 mins 37 secs; 7, J. Coppel (VC D'Annemasse A); 8, R. Maes (Killarney CC); 9, P. McMahon (Bray Wheelers); 10, B. Viera (USA) all same time
Points: 1, Reus, 48; 2, Anthony, 45; 3, M. Cavandish (Dataphonics) 38
Mountains: 1, Gwenael Conte (VC D’Annemasse A) 32; 2, Nel, 30; 2, Q. Ferreira (South African Cycling Academy), 23
First year junior: 1, Ben Crawforth (London Team) 7 hours 42 mins 41 secs; 2, Muscat, at 1 sec; 3, Coppel, same time
Teams: 1, Tempo BMV; 2, VC D’Annemasse A; 3, Stena Team Ireland
REUS TAKES HIS SECOND STAGE
Twenty four hours after he won the second stage of the M. Donnelly Junior Tour, Dutch rider Kai Reus posted the best possible defence of his race leader's jersey when he once again rode to victory with a storming solo display.
With six of the 65 miles remaining, the Tempo BMV cyclist attacked from the main bunch with South African Leon Nel, who had placed second behind Reus yesterday in Waterford. The speeding duo closed up to the lone leader Daniel Martin on the road from New Ross to the finish and once Martin was reeled in, Reus kicked for home.
The flying Dutchman quickly gained time on the drag to the finish in Slieve Rua and reached the line 34 seconds clear of the main field, who mopped up the two other riders in the final run-in. Second one the stage was Mark Cavandish of the English Dataphonics team, while McNally Swords rider Paul Brady and Killarney’s Richard Maes was best of the Irish in sixth and eighth respectively.
The day had started on a bad note for Reus’ Tempo BMV team when Frits Pellemans crashed on a corner and broke his leg. Down one rider, the danger for the Dutchmen was that they would be unable to contains the attacks of their opponents and by the halfway point, it appeared that Reus’ yellow jersey was in danger. English rider Ryan Bonner (North West Division) had broken away at the 19 mile mark and twelve miles later, his lead over Reus was more than one minute, and growing.
A group of ten chasers finally succeeded in getting across to Bonner, amongst them Irishmen Eoin Concannon (Killorglin Credit Union) and Michael Mulvenna of the Cycling Ulster team. But further back, the second category climb after Graiguenamanagh acted as a springboard for Reus, who set off in another small chase group with Barry Woods and Theo Hardwick of the Ireland Stena Line team. These closed the gap by the 52 mile point but all the hard effort came to nothing when the rest of the field regrouped shortly afterwards.
Just before this junction was made, English rider Daniel Martin (Team South West RICCI) attacked and went clear, opening up a lead of over one minute and speeding through the streets of New Ross. Martin is a cousin (by marriage) of last year’s race winner Nicolas Roche and for a while it looked certain that the third stage of the M. Donnelly Junior Tour would once again go to the family. However, while Martin was riding strongly, a strong headwind on the wide-open dual carriageways from New Ross made his task a very difficult one and with four miles remaining he was caught by the race leader Reus and South African Leon Nel.
That set the scene for Reus’ second consecutive stage victory and, more importantly, saw his overall lead jump to two minutes and ten seconds over the USA cyclist Jesse Anthony. With three stages left to go, he is starting to look like the most dominant rider since Ireland's Mark Scanlon in 1998. Scanlon won that year and at this early stage, few are betting against the Dutchman to do the same.
‘He is very, very strong’, said the Ireland Stena Line manager Tom Keenan after the finish. ‘He is second in the world junior rankings and, really, seems strong enough to do what he wants in the race. I think the overall classification is buried – at this point, we are now looking to get a stage win and to try to stay high up in the general classification. I think that Reus is going to win the race.’
For his part, the young Dutchman is very confident. The former speedskater has been cycling for just two years but has won the prestigious Two Days of Heuvelland and Two Days of Zeeuwsvlaanderen this season, both world-ranked races. He intends going all the way in the M. Donnelly Junior Tour. ‘I feel strong and didn’t really worry today, even when there were riders up the road. I had my own plan for the stage and stuck to it. I went clear with a South African rider and then with three miles to go I attacked by myself, to win the stage. I am pretty confident for the overall prize…the South Africans are strong, particularly as there are so many of them, but we have a good team. I am very happy.’
* The M. Donnelly Junior Tour continues tomorrow with a tough 54 mile stage based in Carrick on Suir. The prestigious international event ends in Waterford this Sunday.
M. Donnelly Junior Tour, stage 3 (Waterford - Thomastown - New Ross - Slieve Rua): 1, Kai Reus (Tempo BMV Veldhoven) 65 miles in 2 hours 42 mins 54 secs; 2, M. Cavandish (Dataphonics) at 34 secs; 3, J. Van Heerden (South Africa Cycling Academy B); 4, F. Blanchard (VC D'Annemasse A) at 36 secs; 5, B. Viera (USA); 6, P. Brady (McNally Swords); 7, B. Crawforth (London); 8, R. Maes (Killarney CC); 9, J. Anthony (USA); 10, R. Bonser (North West Division) all same time
Primes: KOM Cat 3 at 13.2 miles: 1, R. Muscat (Malta) 5 points; 2, Q. Ferreira (South African Cycling Academy), 3; 3, J. Ponten (Tempo BMV), 1
KOM Cat 3 at 16.1 miles: 1, O. Constechareyre (VC D’Annemasse) 5; 2, J. Coppel (VC D’Annemasse) 3; 3, Reus, 1
KOM Cat 2 at 36.8 miles: 1, G. Conte (VC D’Annemasse) 9 points; 2, Ferreira, 7; 3, J. Van Heerden (South African Cycling Academy B), 5
Teams: Tempo BMV Veldhoven; 2, USA; 3, VC D’Annemasse A
Overall: 1, Reus, 5 hours 20 mins 59 secs; 2, J. Anthony (USA) at 2 mins 10 secs; 3, L. Nel (South Africa Cycling Academy) at 2 mins 11 secs; 4, Cavandish, at 2 mins 33 secs; 5, B. Woods (Ireland) at 2 mins 35 secs; 6, G. Conte (VC D’Annemasse A) at 2 mins 36 secs; 7, Crawforth, same time; 8, Muscat, at 2 mins 37 secs; 9, J. Coppel (VC D’Annemasse A); 10, Maes, both same time.
Points: 1, Reus, 42; 2, Cavandish, 38; 3, Anthony, 30
Mountains: 1, Nel, 15; 2, Q. Ferreira (South African Cycling Academy), 13; 3, Conte, 9
First year junior: 1, Gwenael Conte (VC D’Annemasse A) 5 hours 23 mins 35 secs; 2, Crawforth, same time; 3, Muscat, at 1 sec
Teams: 1, Tempo BMV; 2, USA; 3, South African Cycling Academy A
DUTCHMAN TAKES STAGE AND YELLOW JERSEY
Dutch rider Kai Reus today seized the yellow jersey of race leadership from the stage one winner Barry Woods of the Stena Ireland team, with a dominant display on day two of the M. Donnelly Junior Tour.
The Tempo BMV rider stormed clear of two breakaway companions inside the last ten miles of the 60 mile stage to cross the finish line in Waterford one minute and 34 seconds clear. South Africa’s Leon Nel and the US rider Jesse Anthony took second and third, with the main bunch containing Woods and the rest of the overall contenders a further 25 seconds back.
Reus’ triumph was made all the more notable by the fact that he had crashed while clear with Nel, tumbling off on a twisting descent just before the race reached Annestown, approximately 20 miles from the finish. He quickly remounted and joined forces with Anthony, who had been dropped two miles earlier, to overcome a one minute deficit and set the stage for his winning attack.
The early action began with an attack by Dubliner James Lawless, who set off after just two miles in an attempt to win the first King of the Hills prime. The Usher IRC rider built a lead of 15 seconds but was recaptured soon afterwards, paving the way for Nel to take the first prime. He then went on to win the remaining four hill climb sprints during the stage, taking a stranglehold on the mountains classification.
South African Juan Van Heerden was next to make a significant attack, going clear from the bunch after ten miles and building a forty second lead. However he too was reeled in some 18 miles later, being scooped up by the bunch as the race headed into Dungarvan. Fenchman Olivier Costechareyre tried his hand shortly afterwards, but was quickly joined by Reus and then left behind. Nel and Anthony succeeded in bridging across, forming a three man alliance which netted them the top placings on the stage and lifted them clear of the rest of the field in the general classification.
Cycling Ulster rider David Watson was best of the Irish today in 9th place, while Woods finished in the same time as the main bunch and drops to 4th overall. The Irish team had been confident of defending the lead on the stage from Waterford to Dungarvan and back, but Frazer Duncan’s crash early in the stage robbed them of one of their strongmen and made the task of holding off the foreign charge even more difficult.
‘It was one of those days’, said the frustrated team manager Tom Keenan. ‘Frazer crashed and then once the three riders got clear, the field stopped racing. They only picked up the pace again at the end, by which time it was too late.’
As expected, Reus was delighted with his own race. ‘I am very happy’, he said. ‘I crashed on a descent but was able to get back on the bike and close the gap to the leader. I made my move with about ten kilometres remaining and opened up a big advantage.’
Stifled by the heat, the Irish quartet will hope to bounce back on tomorrow’s 64 mile stage, which again starts and finishes in Waterford. Yet the strength shown today by the Dutch and South African teams suggests that a real fight is in store before the race ends on Sunday.
M. DONNELLY JUNIOR TOUR, stage 2 (Waterford-Dungarvan-Waterford): 1, Kai Reus (Tempo BMV Veldhoven A) 60 miles in 2 hours 37 mins 4 secs; 2, L. Nel (South African Cycling Academy A) at 1 min 34 secs; 3, J. Anthony (USA) same time; 4, J. Van Heerden (South Africa) at 1 min 59 secs; 5, Z. Taylor (USA); 6, M. Cavandish (Dataphonics); 7, B. Crawforth (London Team); 8, B. Viera (USA) all same time
Primes: KOM Cat 3, Bunmahon; 1, Leon Nel (South Africa A); 2, Q. Ferreira (South Africa A); 3, J. Van Heerden (South Africa B). Cat 3 at 41.6 miles: 1, Nel; 2, G. Conte Conte (VC D’Annemasse A); 3, Anthony. KOM Cat 4 at 44 miles: 1, Nel; 2, Reus. KOM Cat 4 at 47 miles: 1, Nel; 2, Reus. KOM Cat 5 at 50 miles: 1, Nel; 2, Reus
Team: 1, Tempo BMV Veldhoven; 2, USA; 3, South Africa Cycling Academy A
Overall standings: 1, Reus, 2 hours 38 mins 5 secs; 2, Anthony, at 1 min 34 secs; 3, Nel, at 1 min 35 secs; 4, B. Woods (Ireland Stena Line) at 1 min 59 secs; 5, Cavandish, same time; 6, G. Conte (VC D’Annemasse A) at 2 mins; 7, Crawforth; 8, B. Edgar (Dataphonics) both same time
Points: 1, Reus, 27; 2, Cavandish, 24; 3, Anthony, 23
Mountains: 1, Nel, 16; 2, Reus, 3; 3, Conte, 3
First year junior: 1, Conte, 2 hours 40 mins 5 secs; 2, Crawforth, same time; 3, R. Muscat (Malta) at 1 sec
Team: 1, Tempo BMV Veldhoven A, 7 hours 58 mins 19 secs; 2, USA, at 1 min 33; 3, South Africa Cycling Academy A, at 1 min 34
The Ireland Stena Line team started off the M. Donnelly Junior Tour this evening in fine style with a strong performance from Kerry rider Barry Woods in the stage one time trial. Woods paced himself perfectly in the short, hilly effort, starting steadily on the flat section along the Wateford city quays but then picking up the pace on the tough climb to the line. He completed the flat-out test in a time fractionally over one minute, which was good enough to overtake the Team Dataphonics rider Mark Cavandish by two hundreths of a second and so take the first yellow jersey of the six day race.
Third place went to the Frenchman Gwenael Conte, who was just over a second further back from the leading duo.
Killorglin cyclist Woods will hold the yellow jersey going into tomorrow's sixty mile second stage, which sees the riders cover an undulating course from Waterford to Dungarvan and back. Although it is early days in this hard-fought international race, the Ireland Stena Line team intend to defend the race lead. 'There are a lot of good teams in the race but we have a strong squad,' said manager Tom Keenan. 'The stages are quite short and so we will go out there to defend the jersey.'
Woods is motivated to hold onto the race lead, coming into the event with good form. 'I spent the past three weeks racing in Belgium and am going pretty well', he said. 'It was ideal preparation for the Junior Tour. To tell you the truth, I was aiming for a top ten place on the stage, as I had no idea what the foreign riders were like. To go out and take yellow is fantastic and I am very happy.'
M.Donnelly Junior Tour stage one, Waterford. 1, Barry Woods (Ireland Stena Line) 1 minute 0.12 seconds; 2, M. Cavandish (Team Dataphonics) 1 min 0.14 secs; 3, G. Conte (Velo Club D'Annemasse A) 1 min 1.46 secs; 4, A. Reus (Tempo BMV Veldhoven B); 5, B. Crawforth (London Team)
First year junior: Conte
Visit the Event Website www.JuniorTour.org