Newcastle, Northern Ireland (May 26, 2007) Dominique Rollin of the Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company won Stage-7 of the FBD Insurance Ras today in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. The main field finished together, leaving the general classification unchanged with Jesse Anthony in 4th and Rollin in 5th overall at 36 and 40 seconds respectively.
The stage covered 107 miles from Derry southeast across Northern Ireland to Newcastle, where under cold gray skies, Dominique Rollin again showed the field that he is the strongest man in the Ras. Despite repeated efforts throughout the stage by a number of teams, no breakaways were able to get an advantage on the field. A number of local Irish riders were very eager to capture a stage win and chased down every breakaway. This eagerness combined with a lack of wind or challenging terrain, kept the stage very even. The stage is now set for a thrilling final stage on Sunday.
Riding in the best young rider jersey, Jesse Anthony captured the days two King of the Mountains (KOM) climbs. Despite his efforts, Ricardo Van der Velde of the Netherlands has amassed too large a lead in the contest for Anthony to regain the KOM leader’s jersey.
The low point in the day for the Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team came just 12 miles into the race when a rider from the Irish Murphy & Gunn Team lost control of his bike and fell at the front of the peloton. Kodak Gallery rider, Josh Thornton, who was riding immediately behind the rider ran into him and flipped over his handle bars and landed on his head. Fortunately, Thornton was wearing his Bell Sweep helmet which absorbed the impact. To ensure Thornton’s safety, team director, Kurt Stockton made the immediate decision to send him in the ambulance for evaluation, thereby disqualifying him from the remainder of the Ras. After the stage, Thornton was feeling much better, but was deeply disappointed about having to abandon the race and his teammates’ pursuit of the yellow jersey.
Reflecting on the ups and downs of the stage, team director, Kurt Stockton said, “Dominique is riding like a true champion! When you win three out of six stages in a major international stage race it says a lot. We’re here to win and at this point we have 174 kilometers left to race and our singular focus is to claw back 41 seconds and the yellow jersey. Our guys were very active today, but without any difficult conditions or terrain, there was no chance to get away. We’re going to really miss Josh on the road in the final stage on Sunday, but most importantly I am just glad Josh is o.k. after his crash.”