Club Ends Cáirde Rás Tailteann on Positive Note

Cycling Club Isle of Man ended the Cáirde Rás Tailteann the way that they began it putting two riders into the top 10 on stage five.

James Harrison took his third top-10 finish of the race by claiming seventh in the bunch sprint into Blackrock, while Mark Horsthuis capped off a strong week of racing with eighth place.

After enduring a difficult day on stage four, which saw him dropped from the group with a double puncture, Corrin Leeming was back on form in the final stage and helped to set the pace in the bunch for a time during the local laps around Blackrock that completed the race.

Despite some disappointment with the crashes involving Adam Kelly and Niall Quiggin on stage four, Cycling Club Isle of Man has enjoyed a strong competitive debut.

The team racked up five top-10 finishes across the week and ends the race 11th overall in the team competition. Meanwhile, James’ consistent performances see him finish in the top 5 of the points competition.

Stage five of the Cáirde Rás Tailteann took the riders 135.3 kilometres from Kilbeggan to the seaside in Blackrock in Dundalk. The route featured two categorised climbs before it entered a 10-kilometre finishing circuit around Blackrock, with four laps to be completed before the riders could duke it out for the final honours.

Once again, the race set off at lightning speed and there were riders being distanced off the back of the peloton very early on. Big crowds lined the roads in sections to cheer the riders on all along the roadside.

In spite of the quick pace being set on the front of the bunch, several riders tried to make a break for it, including our own James. He twice tried to shake the peloton off his wheel but was brought back by a determined bunch.

The two classified climbs did little to abate the speed and two riders held a very slim lead as the bunch entered the final laps. They were quickly brought back and another group of five, which included yellow jersey Daire Feely (All Human/Velo Revolution), went clear and spent two laps off the front.

They too were reeled in by the fast bunch and it was Kevin McCambridge of Trinity Racing that made the stage-winning move inside the final 10 kilometres. McCambridge held off the pack by just three seconds to take the victory.

In the bunch sprint behind, James and Mark got into the mix to claim seventh and eighth place on the stage.

The Cáirde Rás Tailteann was Cycling Club Isle of Man’s first-ever race as a team and it is just the beginning for the nascent squad. The riders who completed it enter into the race’s longstanding legend and can forever call themselves “Men of the Rás”.

Those who were unable to ride to the end in Blackrock still play a part in the race’s legendary history and they will be back again to conquer it.