An Post Rás

Davide Ballerini takes final stage as Clemens Fankauser wins Rás

Updated: Sunday, 25 May 2014 23:23 | Comments

Davide Ballerini roars in celebration as he crosses the finish line
Davide Ballerini roars in celebration as he crosses the finish line

Team Idea's Davide Ballerini claimed victory on the final stage of this year's An Post Ras as Clemens Fankhauser (Tirol Cycling Team) was crowned overall champion.

Fankhauser finished in the main bunch in the same time as nearest general classification rival Alex Peters (Madison Genesis).

Ballerini was part of a seven-man breakaway that led for the majority of the final 134.3-kilometre stage from Newbridge to Skerries, with Italian attacking in the final 10km to clock a winning time of two hours, 58 minutes and seven seconds.

Daniel Klemme (Synergy Baku) and Pierrick Naud (Canadian National Team) finished second and third, 38 seconds behind the winner.

It had been a tough seven days in the saddle for the peloton, and only nine of the 32 teams began the final stage with a full complement of riders. 

It was lively from the off as several small groups of riders tried to go clear, but were consistently reeled in by the bunch.

Last year’s runner-up Connor McConvey (Synergy Baku) led the first breakaway of the day going through Kilcock, but that challenge dissipated.

On the hour mark, another seven-man break, led by Robert Partridge (Velosure Giordana) and including Irish county rider Chris Reilly (Louth South) and Ballerini jumped clear, establishing a lead of three an a half minutes.

Simon Ryan of the Tipperary South team gave chase, trying to bridge the gap, but was swallowed up by the main field which featured the yellow jersey leader.

As the break ascended the category three climb of Cross of the Cage, their lead began to dwindle.

The bunch, controlled by the An Post Chain Reaction and the Tirol team, were working well and as the leaders crossed the finish line for the second of the three customary laps of the seaside town, the gap was just over two minutes.

Ballerini jumped clear at the front as the breakaway began to fragment.

With only nine kilometres to the finish, he held a 23-second lead and it was clear at that point that the Italian would not be caught.

He soloed to a magnificent victory, with Fankhauser crossing the line at the front of the chasing peloton to claim the coveted yellow jersey.

The newly crowned Rás champion was in awe at the magnitude of his achievement, the Austrian's biggest win to date.

“I am shocked," said Fankhauser. 

"It’s amazing to win this race. It’s been a really tough eight days but it’s something I’ll always remember. This is the best day of my career for sure. This country is amazing and the people are very special. I am honoured to be crowned Rás champion.” 

Double stage winner Patrick Bevin (New Zealand National Team) won the points classification while Markus Eibegger (Synergy Baku) took home the King of the Mountains jersey.

Alex Peters (Madison Genesis), who finished a superb second overall, won the best Under-23 rider while Damien Shaw’s (Cork City Aquablue) outstanding performance throughout the eight days saw him crowned as the best county rider.

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