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Tour of Omagh - Stage 3 Report

29/07/2019
Tour of Omagh - Stage 3 Report

Spar Tour of Omagh Stage 3 Report

Fantastic Bird “Flies” for Solo Victory

The summer weather was to continue into the afternoon as the riders faced stage 3 and two demanding climbs through the village of Carrickmore.

 

This years A4 race is proving to be a really cagey affair with most attacks quickly covered. In today stage the climbs through Carrickmore would see James Kenny strengthen his grip on the Polka dot Jersey although with some great climbing tomorrow Jay Mc Auley from Strabane Lifford could still claim this jersey.

Once the climbs were completed the race settled into the same pattern with attacks quickly chased down although Niall Mc Shane (Foyle CC) and Barry o Hagan (Dunloy) who eked out a 26 second lead before being caught, Mc Shane was to go again but was caught approaching the final mile. In the sprint Jamie Mc Mahon (DB Cycling) was the victor with Duncan Halliday (Errigal) again on the podium and Paul Little (Breffni Wheelers) completing the podium.

IN the GC Davoren Fallon continues in Yellow with Hallidays bonus second seeing him leapfrog Gormley into second in the GC. Overall this is still a very tight race  with as many as forty riders still in contention.

 

In the afternoon the ladies served up a real treat, with attacking, chasing, some brilliant team riding and then a fantastic solo effort for stage victory. The action was furious from the get go with in the W1/2 group Laura Campbell from Ballymena attacking at the flag, she was to take Louise Hart (TC Racing) with her but although they managed to get a 15 second lead they were soon caught by a bunch led by Cycling Leinster and Westport. This early flurry of activity was to see the deficit to the W3 group reduce to under 50 seconds after just 7 miles. The W3 group though had other ideas and just after Beragh Ulster riders Laura Wylie and Ciara Kelly were to launch of the front. A furious chase within the W3 group was to see the lead to the W1/2 group quickly extend to over 2 minutes. This though was just the warm up, as the race approached Carrickmore and Malahbui for the first time, Ulster Riders Wylie and Kelly were joined by Ciara Haveran (Newry) to launch of the front again. This time they were to establish a considerable lead which  at one stage was in advance of 90 seconds. In behind as the W1/2 group were cresting Malahbui the race was to split up into 5 groups. The three W3 riders held their own in front with a chase of W3 rider in pursuit with the main GC protagonists just behind. These two groups were to merge as the race approached Creggan and the chase began in earnest. As the group approached the turn to take them back to Carrickmore for a second time the W1/2 riders almost had the race back together with Ballymena riders Smyth and Burns to the fore. The groups were to merge shortly after.  

The race was to split again and as they approached the Gap Ballroom there were numerous groups on the road. The GC contenders and jersey holders were in or near the front but the W3 leader had dropped back and it looked like Cycling Ulster and Wylie had eyes on this Jersey.

As the race approached Carrickmore for a second time, the dynamic changed again as Sharon Bird from Ballymena was to forge clear and very quickly establish a 1 minute lead. Her team mates in the chase group were able to disrupt the chase significantly to allow their team mate establish a 1 minute 30 second lead and then solo to a well-deserved stage victory. Her team mate Smyth was second on the stage with Hughes (Westport) sprinting for third.

With Bird soloing to victory the focus turned to the battle for the GC and the W3 jersey. Maura Claffey showed some real guts in holding on to the pink jersey and the Women’s Commission team did a fine job in regrouping and bringing their leader Taggart back into the main chase as the group approached the last 5kms.

So as a result, the GC remains close with seven riders still with 35 seconds and as a result of a brilliant team effort Taggart will start the final stage in the W3 Jersey.

 

Its all to play for in the final stage and with the fearsome lenamore road and Gortin Glens in the final 15 Kms it promises to be an exciting final stage.

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