Bunbeg, Ireland (May 23, 2007) The Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team, presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. controlled the day’s stage to retain its hold on the race lead. The team also holds the lead in the contests for King of the Mountain, Best Young Rider and Points.
In the final stage before the mountains, Jesse Anthony passed a major test, successfully completing his first stage in the race leader’s yellow jersey. After the stage, Anthony confided, “Riding in yellow was actually kind of stressful, but at the point in the stage when I knew I’d keep for another day, that was very cool!” Anthony is the first rider of the 2007 FBD Insurance Ras to wear the jersey on successive days.
Wet roads and drizzling skies didn’t slow the attacks that began nearly from the start of the day’s stage from Sligo to Bunbeg. All five members of the Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team rode strongly at the front of the field countering attacks and making sure no threats to the leader’s jersey were allowed to form.
Late in the stage, a small group of riders were allowed to get up the road with an advantage of just over a minute. The Kodak Gallery riders maintained the gap until the 20 kilometer banner when they turned up the pace and reeled it back. The team also took advantage of the effort to dispense a dose of pain to the riders in the field who refused to share the day’s work. A stout cross-wind aided this effort and by the time the field entered town for a very technical finale, the field was strung out and many faces showing the days effort.
The final sprint saw Dominque Rollin coming on strong on the 300m climb to the line. Despite losing his lead-out rider in the final corner and dropping to mid field, Rollin came on strong in the closing meters to narrowly miss his second consecutive win. Rollin’s high finish did advance his grasp on the points leader’s contest and ensured he’d ride the next stage in the green jersey.
After the race team director, Kurt Stockton, talked about the stage and what lies ahead on Thursday, “I am very happy with how the guys are racing. We had to deal with the attacks, but we also took control of the race and kept it hard for the rest of the field. At this point, it’s up to the team to deliver in the mountains on Thursday. We’ll have to compensate for the disadvantage of not knowing the local roads with strong riders who ride smart.”
Looking forward to Thursday’s decisive mountain stage, race leader, Jesse Anthony said, “I don’t even feel like I raced today. Tomorrow will be the big test for us though. I’m ready to throw it down…hopefully, what I can do will be enough to come through with the overall win. There’s no reason to hold back tomorrow, we will just get out and race the Ras!”