Pedal power in Baltinglass at the Rás
THERE WAS GREAT EXCITEMENT in Baltinglass last week as the An Post Rás wheeled into town.
Baltinglass was the final stop on stage seven of the Ras and the cyclists got a great welcome to Wicklow from young and old.
Stage seven, the penultimate stage of the race, was won by Irish man Eddie Dunbar which added to the sense of excitement in the town. Eddie’s win saw him become the second Irish rider to claim a stage win on this year’s race. The Corkman was part of a five man lead break and won a hard fought sprint to the line, finishing just ahead of Jai Hindley (Australian National Team) and yellow jersey leader, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling).
The penultimate days racing took the riders 155 kilometres from Dungarvan, Waterford to Baltinglass. With six arduous days of racing already conquered there was no let up though for the 152 riders that took to the start line as they faced four climbs, including the torturous category one ascent of Mount Leinster, which reared up just 40 kilometres to the finish line.
Dunbar, who was a late inclusion in to this year’s Rás, was thrilled to take a victory in a race he has watched growing up as a youngster.
‘It hasn’t sunk in yet. To win a stage on a UCI race in your home country is a dream come true. I’ve watched the race since I was knee high and I’ve always wanted to be one of the ‘men of the Rás’ so it’s a great feeling to be standing here as one of them.’
The overall winner of the Ras was Clemens Fankhauser who became the first rider since Chris Newton to be crowned a two-time winner of An Post Rás. The Austria Tirol Cycling rider lifted the coveted trophy for the second time in three years.
Some of the spectators on the main street in Baltinglass.