Phoenix CC veteran Brian Stewart donned the first yellow jersey of the 2012 edition of Rás Dhun na nGall when he won the opening stage at Ardara tonight.The man who once beat Mark Cavendish in a sprint during the Tour of Ulster once again proved that his sprinting ability had not diminished.
Although the stage was a relatively short 32 miles it was run off at a ferocious pace with riders being dropped in the first few miles of racing as the peleton crested hills on the mountain road to Frosses and continued on along the coast through Dunkineely and Bruckless.
As the race approcahed the first KOH it was UCD who showed their aggression riding strongly at the front but the bunch were careful not to let gaps open for too long.
New Zealand junior Sean Hambrook (VCC Morteau) took maximum points in both King of the Hills primes to seize the lead in the mountains classification. There were a number of attacks throughout the stage but no break attempt managed to gain more than 20 seconds on the bunch.
Coming into Ardara 99 riders were involved in the sprint for the line with Belfast's Stewart edging out Cormac Clarke of the Cycling Ulster/Slane Cycles squad. Navan RC's John Kenny was third just ahead of Marc Potts (Cycling Ulster/Slane Cycles) while Darragh Zaidan (VC Morteau) and Matty Blaney (North Down CC) completed the top six.
Report Tommy Lamb
Pics Marian Lamb
FOr the Full GC Sheet click the following link - Rás Dhun na nGall Stage 1 Results
Rás Dhun na nGall Top Ten Stage 1
- Stewart,Brian PHA Phoenix A 1h13'20"
- Clarke,Conor ULS Cycling Ulster Slane 1h13'20"
- Kenny,John NAV Navan RC 1h13'20"
- Potts,Marc ULS Cycling Ulster Slane 1h13'20"
- Zaidan,Darragh VCC VCC Morteau-Montbenoi 1h13'20"
- Blayney,Matty DOW North Down CC 1h13'20"
- Martin,Brian DBA Donegal Bay CC 1h13'20"
- Morton,Eoin UCD UCD Team 1h13'20"
- Hunter,Danny ERR Errigal CC 1h13'20"
- Holian,Kevin ERR Errigal CC 1h13'20"