Ken Hanson made light work of the uphill sprint to land the spoils in the first stage of the FBD Insurance Ras

American, Ken Hanson made light work of the uphill sprint to land the spoils in the first stage of the FBD Insurance Ras which ended in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim after 142.2kms from Navan in Co. Meath yesterday. This year’s event is dedicated to the memory of the late Philip Fitzsimons CEO of FBD who died recently.

Only last week did Ken get the nod to take his place in the Isle of  Man Team sponsored by  Microgaming – Dolan) from the manager of the squad Gary Hinds.

“Yes, I was surprised to be able make the trip and to cap it with a stage win. It has to be the greatest day in my short cycling career. I have only been in the sport for the last four years. I played professional football in California but the switch has been rewarding.

“It was great to do it here in Co. Leitrim where my grandmother came from.

“My team mate Andy Roche was a previous winner of the ‘Ras’ back in 1997. He was ahead in the closing kilometres. I was fifth in the line and when he was caught I just went for it.

“I did not lift my hands off the bars to acknowledge the crowds as I was scared of the Dutchman Kos who came up to my shoulder in last meters.

“It is my greatest win since I started cycling and hopefully there are more wins in my legs,” said Ken.

The day started with Holland’s Isaac Kip livening up the proceedings shortly after the start, but this was short lived.

The principal attack of the day came at Ballyjamesduff when Tim van der Zanden (Netherlands) and Eugene Moriarty (Meath/MyHome BDBC) upped the anti and went ahead.
Shortly after the duo went ahead they were joined by Rob Partridge ( Team Stena Line Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk), Alex Higham ( Plowman Craven), Daniel Lloyd ( An Post / Sean Kelly), Derek Burke ( Pezula Racing), Morten Hegreberg (Norway Sparebanken Vest), Simon Kelly (Dublin IRC Ushers) and Sean Lacey (Dublin Eurocycles).

When the lead went to over two minutes, the alarm bells started to chime with Pezula and the Irish squad upping the anti in pursuit of the leaders.

Their foray at the head of the came ended with 10kms to go.

On the run into the finish the movers and the shakers were still up for the win, but it was the American who stole their thunder with an explosive sprint.

Neill Delahaye who won the first prime of the day at Kells is the King of the Hills leader as the second stage sets out for Claremorris this morning.

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