Mark Cassidy created his own piece of history

Mark Cassidy of the An Post/Sean Kelly Racing Team created his own piece of history yesterday when he took over as race leader of the FBD Insurance Ras in Lisdoonvarna Co. Clare. Thus emulating his dad, Philip Cassidy who wore the yellow jersey on a number of occasions in his illustrious career.

Whilst the day may have belonged to Mark, Chis Newton another giant of the road was tasting his first success of the season when he sprinted clear of his breakaway companion David McCann to win the third stage from Claremorris over 133kms. Chris a number of years won into the Co. Clare town and went on to win the race overall. So this win could be ominous for yet another overall victory.

Interestingly Newton broke his collarbone in March and is only back on his bike courtesy of his physician.
The action started early on in the stage when Patrick Kos (Netherlands) cut loose from the main bunch only to be joined by Miceal Concannon and Robin Seymour.

Despite the wind the trio worked cohesively as a unit and soon built up a respectable lead of a minute plus. Obviously alarm bells started to ring and in particular it  was noticeable that the An Post/Sean Kelly team of race leader Stephen Gallagher were to the fore in the chase that eventually reeled the escapees back to the safety of the main bunch in the general area of Claregalway.

On the approach to Kinvara the most significant move by the fancied candidates for overall victory was  Benny de Schrooder of An Post/Sean Kelly and Ciarán Power (Pezula Racing) when they went forward from the main group in an attempt to link up with Derek Burke also of Pezula, Neill Delahaye (Dublin/Usher Irish Road Club and Tim van der Zanden (Netherlands) with the bunch at 40 seconds.

With the stage now in earnest, Chris Newton of Stena Ralpha Condor along with Roger Aiken, David McCann (Irish national team) Norwegian Morten Hegreberg,  and Paidi O’Brien of (An Post/Sean Kelly) went in pursuit of the break. It took them all of 20kms to make the junction.

The lead group now had a healthy one minute plus on the bunch which was being led by the Team Plowman Craven who were now caught in no mans land. Still the main pack persisted in chasing down the breakaways and at Fanore with the aid of a tailwind they were begininng to make inroads on the lead group of nine.

On the approach to the third category climb at Ballinalacken, Mark Cassidy ( An Post/ Sean Kelly), Amir Zargari (Iran Islamic Azad University),  Kieran Page (Pezula) and Andrew Bye (Surrey Racing League) detached themselves from the chasing bunch and move forward in pursuit of the lead group.

Sensing that there was a chase on by a quartet, McCann and Newton made it uncomfortable for their breakaway companions by upping the anti and they eventually succumbed. The duo now opened a lead of 30 seconds which was further extended by the last hurdle of the day!

On the approach to the last climb at Doonagore, McCann and Newton were  in the comfort zone of a minute plus on their closest pursuers.

In the sprint to the line Newton with his experience of track racing edges well ahead to claim victory.
Mark Cassidy finished  the day in 15th spot over a minute down on Newton but his accumulative time is sufficient for the outright lead.


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