In-form David O’Loughlin (Pezula Racing) took victory in the final stage of the FBD Insurance Ras on Sunday, sprinting to victory just inches ahead of Scot Evan Oliphant (Plowman Craven RT). An Post rider Stephen Gallagher retained the overall lead.
The winner of the prestigious Shay Elliott Memorial last month, O’Loughlin was part of a four-man break which was allowed to slip away from the bunch on the final day with none of the riders being a serious threat to Stephen Gallagher’s lead.
The four broke away after around 30 kilometres, and stayed away until the end of the 133-kilometre final stage with the majority of the bunch looking consigned to sprinting for the minor placings.
The riders had to complete two laps of a 14-kilometre finishing circuit before reaching the finishing line at Skerries, where a bumper crowd watched as their home rider clinched victory from Oliphant, of the Plowman Craven RT.
The pair had pushed on as they reached the final climb and the elastic finally broke for the other two dropped back, with O’Loughlin’s team-mate Cameron Jennings beating Poland’s Blazej Janiaczyk for third place, while Rapha Condor-Recycling ace Dean Downing, from Rotherham, led in the bunch to ensure he wins the points competition overall.
But in the main category Gallagher took victory, having earned the yellow jersey with consistent performances. Despite his best results being third on stages six and two, a strong performance from his An Post colleagues ensured he held on to the lead.
While Downing took the green jersey of points winner, fellow Yorkshireman Kit Gilham from Sheffield was crowned King of the Mountains after bagging points on virtually every stage of the eight-day race.
The Kinesis UK rider had been eighth, but a superb penultimate day which saw him win four of the five climbs ensured he took the pink jersey of best climber.
Elsewhere, Sigma Sport’s Matt Stephens proved victorious in the Cycling Development North West League road race on the Lach Dennis circuit in Lancashire, sprinting in just ahead of David Williams (Kuota Biemme).
The experienced Stephens – a former professional rider with the Linda McCartney squad – took the verdict by inches, while the final spot on the podium went to Ian Bibby (Science in Sport.com) who led in a group of eight riders 23 seconds further back.
In other events, Chris Thomson (VC Astar) won the Dundee Thistle CC three-stage event by the narrowest of margins after some close racing north of the border.
Thomson was joint second in the opening two-mile prologue with rivals Tim Allen (GS Metro) and Aidan McIlroy (Edinburgh RC) all on 4-18.
Thomson went on to win both Saturday’s 40-mile road race and Sunday’s 50-mile stage. With bunch finishes on each day the three could still not be separated on time, but Thomson was given the verdict thanks to his victories.
Goldtec rider Richard Barnett put his sprinting skills to good effect to take victory in the Bike Factory Circuit of Saighton in Lancashire on Sunday.
In a bunch finish, he held off Macclesfield Wheelers’ Jaime Hyde and Max Gear RT’s Kristian Poole, who were second and third respectively.
And VC Revolution ace Joe Skipper won the 94-kilometre Reg Cogman Memorial at Wicklewood, Norfolk, beating Witham Wheelers’ James Coleman to the line.