In-form Daire Feeley decided to defend yellow jersey as Adam Ward takes Rás stage honours

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It was all change on the high of the leaderboard of Rás Tailteann after a troublesome slog by way of the Burren noticed Adam Ward of Crew Eire take the largest victory of his profession on the finish of stage three in Lisdoonvarna and Roscommon man Daire Feeley take over as race chief.

eeley, who rides for the Cork All Human VeloRevolution staff and who ended final season because the highest-ranked rider on the home scene, was aggressive all through the stage, first going clear in a three-man transfer within the opening kilometres.

Though that was quickly reeled in, Feeley was to the fore once more when a nine-man group went clear shortly after Crecora, 30kms into the 172km stage.

That group additionally included eventual stage winner Ward, Ulster’s Darnell Moore, Meathman Luke Smith (Moynalty), Carlow Dan Morrissey duo Devin Shortt and Conor Hennebry and British trio James McKay (Biking Sheffield), Josh Housley (Spirit BSS) and his team-mate Joseph Rees.

“I noticed a gaggle going up the street with Darnell Moore, Luke Smith, Conor Hennebry and some different robust Irish boys in it,” mentioned Feeley. “I mentioned to myself, ‘If this was a traditional Sunday race I wouldn’t be letting them boys up the street’. I jumped throughout and we co-operated pretty properly and opened a very good hole.”

Having begun the day in eighth total, at 1’01’’ behind in a single day chief Louis Sutton of the Spanish Brocar Ale staff, Feeley’s group had 4 minutes by the point they acquired to Ennis with 50km remaining, making him race chief on the street.

With 30km remaining, Sutton’s Spanish squad had knocked a minute off their deficit as Ward attacked the entrance group, with Feeley the one one able to following him. The duo had 25 seconds on the remainder of the breakaway as they started the third-category climb of The Burren after 150km.

A concerted chase by the peloton noticed them near inside two minutes by the highest of the Corkscrew, with 10km to go, the place Feeley crested the summit forward of Ward to take over the lead within the mountains competitors earlier than driving the duo alongside on the run-in, figuring out that he was using into the general lead in Lisdoonvarna.

“Adam Ward was tremendous robust all day, so I jumped on his wheel when he attacked and we labored collectively all the best way to the end,” mentioned Feeley. “I mentioned to him, ‘Let’s go to the end and whoever takes it, takes it’. The legs began to really feel higher after I knew the yellow jersey was inside attain.”

Within the dash to the road, Feeley met his match and it was Ward who took stage victory for the Irish nationwide staff.

“I believe we each had our personal pursuits in the present day,” mentioned 20-year-old Ward. “Daire had his personal pursuits for the general so he was dedicated and we each labored onerous to remain away to the road. I used to be keen to completely commit and I reckoned I may take the stage.

“Final night time our supervisor Martyn Irivine mentioned, ‘You need to be second into the final nook as a result of it’s nonetheless about 400m to go.’ I used to be second into the nook and I went early with 300 to go on the drag to the end. I seemed round and noticed that I used to be clear and I had a little bit of time to sit down up and luxuriate in it. I bear in mind coming to observe the stage finishes of the Rás with my dad so to be in the course of it now could be one thing particular.”

Ending second, 1’07’’ forward of Meath’s Luke Smith, Feeley did sufficient to provide himself a 51-second benefit within the total standings over stage two winner Louis Sutton, with Ward leapfrogging as much as third at 1’05”. Feeley additionally leads the county rider and mountains classifications.

“It hasn’t sunk in but,” admitted the brand new yellow jersey. “I can’t consider it. It’s sensible! I’ve the yellow jersey within the Ras! If I used to be 13-year-old Daire and I used to be my place now… I’d be very, very joyful. We’re right here for the yellow jersey and we’ll do completely every thing we are able to to defend it.”

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