British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme athlete Owain Doull claimed the young riders jersey at the An Post Ras, finishing in eighth place on the opening stage of the Irish stage race.
Twenty year old Doull from Cardiff (pictured right) finished eighth on the 135.4 kilometre stage one from Dunboyne to Longford, with fellow under 23 Conor Dunne (Tipperary Carrick Iverk Prod) taking the stage win, getting the best of Michael Northey (Node 4 Giordana Racing) in a two-up sprint. Dunne donned the general classification jersey, with Doull, as the next best under 23, claiming the young rider’s colours.
Doull lay in 12th on GC going into the second stage, comprising 160.4 kilometres from Longford to Nenagh. Thanks to a strong tailwind the pace was high, stage honours eventually going to Shane Archibald (Belgium An Post Chain Reaction).
A big group went very early on in the stage but they were brought back before the halfway point. British Cycling Academy rider Sam Harrison got into a break of four riders, who were subsequently caught by a seven-man group creating an eleven man lead bunch.
At 14km to go they had a 32 second lead over the peloton with Harrison finishing seventh in the sprint finish, placing the 20 year old from Cross Keys in 8th position on general classification after two stages. The rest of the GB Academy riders, Joe Kelly, Ali Slater and Simon Yates, all finished with the yellow jersey group.
It was a positive start for the Great Britain riders but team manager Keith Lambert commented: “There is still a long race to go and it can turn upside down at any moment, especially as we head into the hills.”
The eight day stage, which has been a monument on the calendar since 1953, has seen illustrious winners such as Stephen Roche, Chris Newton and Paul Manning and continues with stage three, 141.1 kilometres from Nenagh to Listowel.