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Mixed Emotions For Damien Shaw At Rás 2018

posted 4 Jun 2018, 08:21 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Shay O'Toole - Sun 27th May 2018)   
The 2018 Ras Tailteann finished amid torrential May showers in Skerries last Sunday afternoon. For the third consecutive year, Mullingar man, Damien Shaw finished in the top five in this very difficult eight-day stage race. 
However, Damien’s fantastic fourth place finish was tinged with more than a little disappointment as the Holdsworth Pro Cycling rider had been in third position all week. On the opening 136km stage from Drogheda to Athlone, Damien managed to make the decisive split and rode in the breakaway group which stayed clear to the finish on Shannonside. Along the way he won intermediate sprints in Rochfortbridge and Kilbeggan resulting in time bonuses which left him on the podium and just eleven seconds adrift of Swiss national rider and race leader, Cyrille Thiery.

The following six days saw the race travel at mind boggling speeds to stage finishes in Tipperary, Listowel, Glengarriff, Mitchelstown, Carlow and Naas. On each day, Shaw, the 2015 Irish National Champion fought tooth and nail to ensure he remained on course for a podium finish in Skerries. Unfortunately, on the final stage from Naas to Skerries the race was turned on its head with the second placed Dutch rider toppling the Swiss rider off the top block by a mere one second and in turn this left Damien just off podium in fourth. 

Despite the fact that fourth was an amazing achievement, Damien was naturally devastated in the immediate aftermath of the race as the realisation that a place in Ras history had evaded him yet again. However, the full-time Yorkshire based cyclist is not one to wallow in defeat and he will soon be back on the bike racing in England. His next appearance on Irish roads will be at the National Championships in Sligo on 1st July.

Congratulations also to Lakeside Wheelers member, Stuart Cox who rode the Ras with Longford Cycling Club. 

Damien Shaw, 2nd from right celebrates with his Holdsworth Pro Cycling team after they took a stage win in Carlow at Ras 2018
Damien Shaw, 2nd from right celebrates with his Holdsworth Pro Cycling team 
after they took a stage win in Carlow at Ras 2018
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