See other stages - Stage 1, Stage 3, Stage 4
Race Organiser Sam Darcy with one of the oldest Gorey competitors Sean Lally
The race, 166 riders heading to Blessington
The women's leading group
Small break of the front
First serious break - Theo Hardwick and Daniel Lynch at Hacketstown
Strong cross-winds split the bunch
New chasing group
Chasing group gaining on leaders
2 leading groups joined together
Mark Nesbit leads on drag - bunch at 30 seconds
16 Kms to go the 2 Killorglin juniors attack
4 riders have broke clear
8 Kms to go
The leaders have about 20 seconds
Sean Bracken in pursuit
Andrew McQuaid wins the stage
McQUAID WINS STAGE ONE OF GOREY
Report by Shane Stokes
Emerald rider Andrew McQuaid is the first overall leader of the Dublin Skip Gorey Three Day, after a strong finishing sprint saw him win a three-man tussle this afternoon. McQuaid, Killorglin duo Theo Hardwick and Barry Woods, plus the Cycleways-Lee Strand rider Eddie McMahon had surged clear of a 31-strong breakaway with eleven miles remaining on the stage, and while McMahon succumbed to cramp, the other riders had established enough of an advantage to hold off the fast-finishing chasing group.
Although bright and mild, today’s 65 mile opening stage was marked by gusting winds which made things all the more difficult for the 166 riders who turned out and, with the ten female entrants getting a slender five minute head start, the speed was on from the drop of the flag in Brittas. Twenty-seven miles were covered in the first hour of racing, prompted in part by the successful chase of the women but mainly due to the efforts of aggressors such as Aidan Hammond (Orwell Wheelers), John Mason and Mark Cassidy (both Cycleways Lee Strand), who broke clear before Baltinglass and opened up a lead of twenty seconds. Sparking off a chase behind, the trio were recaptured but shortly afterwards Hardwick and Kanturk Credit Union rider Denis Lynch – who had highlighted his good form when he won the Stamullen GP senior 2 race last week – threw down the gauntlet. Remaining at the head of affairs over the long drag up through Hackettstown, they were eventually joined by a dozen riders while behind, the main bunch splintered into four separate groups under the pressure of the chase.
The first of these groups eventually succeeded in closing the gap and creating a 31-rider group up front, but the remainder of the field began what was a steady slide backwards. One minute ten seconds, two minutes, two minutes thirty seconds; the main field eventually finished over three minutes back, ending the aspirations of many riders who privately dreamed of winning the prestigious early-season race beforehand.
Meanwhile, those up front were fighting it out for the stage win and the chance to become the first overall leader. Just as the front runners and the chasing group were merging, four riders kicked clear on a short, steep climb eleven miles from the line, and opened up a substantial lead. McQuaid, Woods, Hardwick and McMahon dug deep to carve out what was a forty second advantage, with four miles remaining, but a strong headwind and some cat-and-mouse tactics hampered further consolidation of the gap. Jumping around, then stalling, the four became three when McMahon slipped back, while behind a small counter-attack comprising Dylan Rafter (St. Tiernan’s), Sean Bracken (Usher IRC) and Colm Crawley (Stamullen M. Donnelly) made inroads into their deficit and closed right up before the finish. Inside the final 500 metres it was McQuaid who showed his strength, galloping to what appeared to be an easy sprint victory over Hardwick and Woods, while behind Crawley led Rafter and Bracken home.
In all, thirty riders finished within half a minute of McQuaid and Hardwick, leaving the race right open going into tomorrow morning’s four mile time trial. And once the ownership of the yellow jersey is decided, he must then cross swords with his rivals in the afternoon’s sixty-mile road race. At this stage, seconds and fractions of seconds will count; it all bides well for a fascinating day’s racing on Easter Sunday.
Dublin Skip Gorey Three Day, stage one (Brittas-Gorey): 1, Andrew McQuaid (Emerald) 65 miles in 2 hours 38 mins 6 secs; 2, T. Hardwick (Killorglin) same time; 3, B. Woods (Killorglin) at 4 seconds; 4, C. Crawley (Stamullen M. Donnelly) at 9 seconds; 5, D. Rafter (St. Tiernan’s); 6, S. Bracken (Usher IRC); 7, E. McMahon (Cycleways-Lee Strand) same time; 8, W. Maguire (North Bucks Road Club) at 14 secs; 9, B. Nelson (St. Tiernan’s) same time
Overall: as above
Women: Equal First: Debbie Booth (Cycling Ireland); Marie Reilly (Cycling Ireland); Karen Bothwell (Leinster); Louise Moriarty (Leinster), all 65 miles in 2 hours 51 mins 23 secs.
Category Three: Philip Sinett (North Bucks Road Club) 65 miles in 2 hours 38 mins 20 secs
Junior: Theo Hardwick (Killorglin) 65 miles in 2 hours 38 mins 6 secs
Veteran: Sean Bracken (Usher IRC) 65 miles in 2 hours 38 mins 15 secs
(full results available at http://www.shortall.info/gorey/gor2003/stage_1_results.htm)
See other stages - Stage 1, Stage 3, Stage 4
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