Tour of Ireland 2008 – Stage 4

Russell Downing certainly shook up the leaderboard of the Tour of Ireland yesterday when he upstaged the favourites to land the stage win and the overall lead in Dingle on the penultimate day of the event. The current Premier Calendar Champion in England  put a stop to Mark Cavendish the turbo-charged Manxman who led the ‘tour’  supported by Failte Ireland for the opening three days.

Downing’s team Pinarello CandidTV have certainly upstaged the big hitters in the event with his double whammy!

On the run in to Dingle he experienced difficulties with his bike in the last 10kms. It looked as though he was not going to figure in the shake up, but he clawed his way back up to the lead group. In the dash to the line  it all came right when he unleashed an explosive sprint which netted him not only the stage win but the overall lead.

The foundations were laid as early as the second hour of racing prior to the An Post Sprint at Athea on the Limerick Kerry border when his t Sweden’s Magnus Backstedt moved forward to finally snap the elastic from the razor sharp peloton who were honing in all the moves. Up to that point they were ever so vigilant.
Backstedt a former winner of a stage in the Tour de France had Downing’s team mate, Peter Wiiliams (Pinarello CandidTV) and Wesly Sulzberger (South Austrlia.com/AIS) in tow as they forged ahead. The trio at one time had an advantage of over five minutes before there was a reaction from the peloton.
Their advantage was nullified on the approach to the Conor Pass when the climbers started to show their mettle.

But, it took the Conor Pass climb to snuff out the hopes of Cavendish the hero of the race to date.
Today’s stage with four climbs of the infamous Patrick’s Hill in Cork after the run from Killarney will ultimately decide the outcome of the ‘tour.’ Downing’s lead is a mere two seconds from New Zealand’s Julian Dean who has the backing of a superior team to the English man who has come under the radar screen to be in front.

Tour of Ireland
Stage four-Limerick/Dingle, 186kms

Details:

1 R. Downing (Pinarello CandiTV) 4hrs19mins56 secs;
2 G. Rabunal (Karpin Galicia) st;
3 M. Wilson (Team Type 1), st;
4 S. Clarke (SouthAustralia.com), st;
5 L. Mazzanti (Tinkoff Credit Systems), st;
6 D. (An Post/Sean Kelly), st;
7 J. Coenen (Topsport Vlaanderen), st;
8 N. Maes (Topsport Vlaanderen), st;
9 J. Dean (Garmin Chipotle), st;
10 L. Nordhaug (Joker Bianchi), st.

General classification after 4 stages:

1 Downing 18.14.54;
2 Dean, @2;
3 Wilson, @11;
4 Rabunal, @12;
5 K. Hovelijnck (Topsport Vlaanderen), @13;
6 Maes, 14.

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