Emerging the fastest in a spectacular and furious bunch sprint to the line in the glorious Tipperary sunshine.
Matthew Teggart of the Cycling Ulster team emerged as the winner by the tightest of margins to eclipse his fellow competitors and take victory on the first stage and with it, the coveted yellow jersey of overall leader of the An Rás Tailteann 2022. He now also leads the green jersey points classification.
Second over the line was Rory Townsend (Team Ireland), followed by Matteo Cigala (Team Carlow – Dan Morrissey) who also scooped the County rider award.
King of the hills was Dean Harvey (Team Ireland), U23 leader is Joseph Rees (Team Britain Embark Bikestrong) and the county team classification is led by Team Carlow – Dan Morrissey.
How it unfolded…
Stage 1 of Rás Tailteann 2022 kicked off this morning with a ceremonial start from Tallaght Stadium. The racing was unsurprisingly intense from the off with the peloton averaging 48.8 km/hr in the first hour of racing. Although a number of riders made early attempts to get clear from the peloton, their efforts proved frugal with the peloton keeping a close eye on proceedings.
The most dangerous move of the day came on the Cat 2 KOH @ Deenside when 3 riders gained a 55 second advantage over the main field with only 35km of racing remaining. This group included:
Dean Watson – Embark-Bikestrong
Lindsay Watson – Cycling Ulster
Ronan Killeen – Mayo: Castlebar CC
The peloton led by Team Ireland and Cycling Sheffield orchestrated the chase behind reducing the gap to 30 seconds with 20km to go. Although Watson of Embark-Bikestrong made one final attempt to break clear in the last 10km, his days were numbered as the race inevitably came back together with 5km to go. The shuffling began as Trinity Racing, Cycling Ulster and Team Ireland fought to get their fast men up to the front as the peloton passed through the flamme rouge of 1 kilometre to go.
One of the pre-race favourites, Matthew Teggart of Cycling Ulster proved too strong to take the win and the FBD Insurance sponsored Stage winners jersey.
Teggart will now wear the leaders yellow jersey into tomorrow’s stage 2, with Townsend wearing the Citybreak Apartments points jersey and Cigala wearing the Bective Stud leading county-rider blue jersey.
The Spin11 king of the hills jersey was Dean Harvey (Team Ireland), U23 leaders jersey sponsored by Cycling Ireland is Joseph Rees (Team Britain Embark Bikestrong) and the county team classification is led by Team Carlow – Dan Morrissey.
With only seconds separating the leading riders on general classification, it’s sure to be a hard day for the race tomorrow.