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MARTIN WINS SUIR VALLEY 3 DAY, GALLAGHER SCOOPS FINAL STAGE
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Irish Racing Last Updated: 2 Apr 2018 - 8:45:17 PM

MARTIN WINS SUIR VALLEY 3 DAY, GALLAGHER SCOOPS FINAL STAGE
By Shane Stokes
2 Aug 2010,

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Thomas Martin (Eurocycles) grabbed a dramatic overall victory in the Suir Valley 3 Day today, racing clear in a late breakaway and building enough time to overhaul race leader Andy Roche (Isle of Man). Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport) proved quickest of the break at the finish in Clonmel, grabbing the victory ahead of Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly), Stephen Barrett (Planet X) and Martin.

Conor O’Shea (Killorglin/Cahirciveen) had also been part of the break and came in six seconds later, while McLaughlin’s team-mate Mark McNally led home the main bunch 41 seconds later.

Roche’s Isle of Man team had done its utmost to control a very aggressive final stage, bringing back several dangerous breaks, and the former FBD Rás winner was still looking good until the hot spot sprint in Ardfinnan, twelve kilometres from the end.

However the final break clipped away there and the elastic snapped. Martin ended up with a 26 second advantage over Gallagher in the overall standings, with Barrett and Roche four and five seconds further back, respectively.

“This is my biggest win thus far,” said the delighted Ulster rider. “This morning three on our team were still capable of winning it – myself, Conor Murphy and Adam Armstrong, and so the plan was to attack and put the pressure on from the word go. Things worked out very well.”

Mark Cassidy (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) held onto the lead in the King of the Mountains classification, despite an inopportune puncture plus a determined push by Tighernach Murphy. Martyn Irvine (Planet X) beat Gallagher in the points classification, while Joe Kelly (Isle of Man) and Art McManus (On Your Bike.ie) won the second category and third category prizes. Eurocycles Eurotrek edged out An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly in the teams classification.


How it happened:

Stephen Halpin (Rogelli SDC) was first to attack, and was chased by Adam Armstrong (Eurocycles Eurotrek), Marty Warren (Isle of Man) and Fiachra O’Mhuire (Ireland Development U/25). These were brought back, but O’Muire’s team-mate Tigernach Murphy went clear with five others several kilometres later. He joined up with Stephen O’Sullivan (Engraveit.ie), Mark McNally (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly), Joe Kelly (Isle of Man B), Greg Swinand (Usher IRC) and Gavin Keane (Donamon Dynamos).

O’Sullivan took the hot spot prime at Morrison’s Garage in Cahir, leading Swinand and McNally over the line, but the bunch was just behind and caught the break seconds later. Connor McConvey (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) and Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport) then had a go and were chased by several others, but everything was back together 18 kilometres after the start.

Three kilometres later, Niall Brosnan (The Edge), Mick Reddin (South Dublin CC) and Stephen Barrett (Planet X) clipped away and were joined by O’Sullivan, but this move came back. Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport) tried a solo move thirty kilometres into the stage and had more success, building a lead of over 20 seconds and staying away for several minutes.

However race leader Andy Roche’s Isle of Man squad was keeping close tabs on things and hauled him back. A longer last move went approximately 36 kilometres after the start when Tim O’Regan (Engraveit.ie), Eddy Barry (Blarney CC) and McNally went away, marked by Graeme Hatcher (Isle of Man). By Mitchelstown (km 40.7), they had 18 seconds and there McNally beat Hatcher for the intermediate sprint.

O’Regan’s team-mates Ryan Sherlock and O’Sullivan sensed that the move could gain some time and jumped away from the bunch. They successfully bridged by the 45 kilometre point, on the Glocca Morra climb, while Tighernach Murphy (Ireland Development team) also joined up soon afterwards and grabbed maximum points at the top. Sherlock and Barry were second and third.

McNally’s team-mate Mark Cassidy had started the day in the King of the Mountains jersey but had missed the move. Murphy’s prime win moved him into a position where he could have taken the jersey, and he knew that if he took the next climb, the category two at Mountain Barrick, he’d move level with Cassidy.

However McNally was determined to keep the jersey in the team and he pipped a disappointed Murphy at the prime line, ensuring he stayed a point behind Cassidy.

The bunch was inching closer and Mark Power (Dan Morrissey Carrick Wheelers), Adam Armstrong (Eurocycles) and Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) succeeded in bridging across. Several others did so after that, but the peloton managed to gobble all the leaders up 18 kilometres from the end of the stage.

Andy Roche was back in the driving seat at that point, but a tough day had depleted the strength of his Isle of Man team and he was vulnerable. Things began to go wrong at the Ardfinnan Hot Spot sprint when

That enabled race leader Andy Roche to breathe a sigh of relief, yet his grip on the yellow jersey was soon threatened once again. At the hot spot sprint in Ardfinnan (km 87), Barrett, Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) and Thomas Martin (Eurocycles Eurobaby) jumped clear and crossed the prime line in that order. That sparked off another break, with Gallagher, Tighernach Murphy, Thomas Lavery (Comeragh CC) and Conor O’Shea (Killorglin/Caherciveen) joining up and building a solid lead over the peloton.

The gap was 28 seconds with eight kilometres remaining and two km later McLaughlin attacked on the final KOM climb, Dump Hill. Gallagher bridged up to him, then Barrett, Martin and O’Shea got across, but Murphy and Lavery cracked and slipped back, being caught by the bunch.

The five leaders powered on to the finish, holding off the chase behind and reaching Clonmel with an advantage that would see Martin win the final general classification. Gallagher had checked out the highly technical finish before the start and used that knowledge to his advantage, hitting the final corner ahead and winning the stage. McLaughlin and Barrett took second and third, while Martin rolled in fourth.

The main bunch was led home by McNally for sixth, 41 seconds later, and this gap handed Martin the race victory. A disappointed Roche dropped to fourth overall, but had the consolation of knowing that he had ridden more strongly than he expected after a long layoff from racing. He is building towards the Commonwealth Games and will support Mark Cavendish there.

(Full report/photos later)

------

Suir Valley 3 day, Clonmel:

Stage 4: Clonmel – Clonmel:

1, Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport) 98.9 kilometres in 2 hours 16 mins 4 secs
2, Ronan McLoughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)
3, Stephen Barrett (Sigma Sport)
4, Thomas Martin (Eurocycles) all same time
5, Conor O’Shea (Killorglin/Cahirciveen) at 6 secs
6, Mark McNally (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) at 41 secs
7, Michael O’Reilly (The Edge)
8, Martyn Irvine (Planet X)
9, Conor McConvey (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)
10, Conor Murphy (Eurocycles Eurotrek) all same time


KOM category 2 at Glocca Morra (km 46):

1, Tighernach Murphy (Ireland Development Squad)
2, Ryan Sherlock (Engraveit.it)
3, Eddy Barry (Blarney CC)
4, Mark McNally (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)
5, Tim O’Regan (Engraveit.ie)
6, Graeme Hatcher (Isle of Man)

KOM category 2 at Mountain Barrick (km 59.8):

1, Mark McNally (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)
2, Tighernach Murphy (Ireland Development Team)
3, Graeme Hatcher (Isle of Man)
4, Ryan Sherlock (Engraveit.ie)
5, Stephen O’Sullivan (Engraveit.ie)
6, Eddy Barry (Blarney CC)

KOM category 3 at Dump Hill (km 93.9):

1, Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)
2, Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport)
3, Stephen Barrett (Planet X)
4, Connor O’Shea (Killorglin/Caherciveen)


Hot spot sprints:

Morrison’s Garage, Cahir (km 13.5)

1, Stephen O’Sullivan (Engraveit.ie)
2, Greg Swinand (Usher IRC)
3, Mark McNally (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)

Michelstown (km 40.7):

1, Mark McNally (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)
2, Graeme Hatcher (Isle of Man)


Ardfinnan (km 87):

1, Stephen Barrett (Planet X)
2, Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)
3, Thomas Martin (Eurocycles Eurobaby)


Final general classification:

1, Thomas Martin (Eurocycles Eurobaby) 7 hours 3 mins 43 secs
2, Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sports) at 26 secs
3, Stephen Barrett (Planet X) at 30 secs
4, Andy Roche (Isle of Man) at 31 secs
5, Conor Murphy (Eurocycles Eurobaby) same time
6, Mark Cassidy (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) at 39 secs
7, Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) same time
8, Martyn Irvine (Planet X) at 46 secs
9, Mark McNally (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) at 1 min 9 secs
10, Connor McConvey (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) at 1 min 12 secs


King of the Mountains:

1, Mark Cassidy (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly) 33 pts
2, Tighernach Murphy (Ireland Development squad) 32
3, Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport) 27

Points competition:

1, Martyn Irvine (Planet X) 36 pts
2, Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport) 33
3, Thomas Martin (Eurocycles Eurobaby) 31

Senior 2:

1, Joe Kelly (Isle of Man) 7 hours 5 mins 7 secs
2, Graeme Hatcher (Isle of Man) at 3 secs
3, Lorcan Davoust (South Dublin CC) at 3 mins 30 secs

Senior 3:

1, Art McManus (On Your Bike.ie) 7 hours 8 mins 39 secs
2, John Murray (Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar) at 2 secs
3, Constantin Bartels (Western Lakes) same time

Teams:

1, Eurocycles Eurotrek, 21 hours 12 mins 59 secs
2, An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly, at 30 secs
3, Isle of Man, at 5 mins 51 secs



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