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Inside An Post Chainreaction Inside the Rás.

posted 6 Jun 2016, 14:13 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 6 Jun 2016, 14:35 ]
(By Shay O'Toole - Sun 5th June 2016)   
It’s not too often that “outsiders” get access to professional cycling teams and the entourage that exists around them but the PRO did just that during the 2016 An Post Rás week. Thanks to Damien Shaw and team manager Kurt Boogerts, a spot in the An Post Chainreaction team car was secured for the 6th stage from Clonakilty to Dungarvan.

On a beautifully sunny morning the Rás cavalcade readied itself for the 158km race and the forecourt of the Quality Hotel was buzzing from very early. At this point the Rás had covered several kilometres since it left Mullingar and many a rider was beginning to sport the infamous “Rás Stare”, which refers to the vacant look caused by sheer exhaustion this race brings on. As we lined up waiting for the off  in the main street, a very friendly butcher donated two rings of the delicious pudding which Clonakilty is famed for and a baker threw in a freshly baked brown soda to the team car so at least we weren’t going to starve if the worst happened.

Following a fantastic ride by Mullingar man Shaw the previous day, which left him in second place and just two seconds off the Yellow jersey on GC, the car was in position number 3 in the cavalcade so a good view was guaranteed. From the drop of the flag the racing was full gas with no chance of a break getting away. This pace, combined with the terrain was so hectic that riders were getting dropped after just 9kms. Finally after about 15kms a break got left off the leash but it contained Team Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar so after a short time they were four minutes to the good on the chasing pack. 

Emiel Wastyn An Post Chainreaction gets instructions from the team car during stage 6 of Ras 2016
Emiel Wastyn An Post Chainreaction gets instructions from the team car during stage 6 of Ras 2016

The hills were relentless which led to several more County riders getting shot out the back. It was fascinating to hear team manager Kurt speaking to the riders as they dropped back to the car for food and drink. At speeds of 50km/h these lads were riding alongside the car with no hands and shoving bottles down the jersey before flying off through the peloton to deliver the badly needed liquids to teammates. Always, the instructions were, “The break will not survive, give no assistance to the chase, let the Yellow jersey team do the work and soon enough they will burn off, then we attack and blow the race to pieces at KM 95”. As it happened, the PRO was due to get out of the car at this time so with little fuss Kurt took my bike from the rack and we parted company, him to Dungarvan and I, back through the hills to Clonakilty. From there the race panned out more or less as Boogerts had predicted, Dunbar caught and his sprinter, Aaron Gate taking the sprint and the stage win into Dungarvan. Shaw held onto his 2nd place in GC after a very tough stage and went on to consolidate this with an excellent 5th place overall by the time the peloton crossed the white line on the final stage into sunny Skerries.

Thanks to Kurt Boogerts and everyone at An Post Chainreaction for their hospitality on this great race and for the opportunity to view it up close.
 
The ride back to Clonakilty was an eventful affair with punctures and shredded tyres so thanks also to Paul Birchall in PI Cycles, Mallow, for his assistance and kindness. If any LSW member is ever in bother or simply passing through Mallow,give PI Cycles a shout.

Well done to former Wheeler and current DID Dunboyne rider Eoin Lynch not only on this tough stage, but on a great Rás overall.

Jack Nugent, Damien Shaw (An post Chainreaction), Eddie Dunbar (Team Ireland) and Joe Duffy at the Lakeside Wheelers clubhouse prior to Stage 2 of the 2016 Rás.
Jack Nugent, Damien Shaw (An post Chainreaction), Eddie Dunbar (Team Ireland) and Joe Duffy at the Lakeside Wheelers clubhouse prior to Stage 2 of the 2016 Rás.

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