Conor McGoldrick of the UK: Trek Richardson team claims victory and takes race lead on stage 1 of  Rás Tailteann 2023

Conor McGoldrick of the UK: Trek Richardson crossing the finish line (photo: Lorraine O'Sullivan)

Rás Tailteann Report: 17 May 2023

Conor McGoldrick of the UK: Trek Richardson team won today’s FBD Insurance sponsored stage 1 in an effort that also put him into the Bective Stud supported race leader’s yellow jersey.

Second over the line was Dan Gardener of the UK: Embark Spirit team who is now second on general classification 4 seconds behind McGoldrick. with Joseph Laverick of the Derry: Foyle CC team in third following his placing today.

Although leading the Cycling Ireland KoH classification, and the City Break Apartments points classification, Conor McGoldrick will wear the race leaders Bective Stud yellow jersey into tomorrow’s stage. Joseph Laverick and Dan Gardener will wear the KoH and Points jerseys respectively following their placings today. Although 2022 winner Daire Feeley of Cork: Velo Revolution team took home the Festina county rider award today, the Sport Ireland county rider classification jersey will be worn by Conn McDunphy of Cycling Leinster following his placings during the “hot  spot sprints” earlier in the stage. Aaron Wade of Team Ireland will wear the Spin 11 U23 leaders jersey following his 5th place finish today.

(photo: Lorraine O'Sullivan)

How it Unfolded

Today’s stage 1 of Rás Tailteann 2023 saw the riders faced with a 154.8k journey from Navan to Birr which featured a category 1 KoH within the last 25km of racing. 

After a ceremonial start at Bective Stud, the race took off at a blistering pace completing 47.4km in the first hour of racing. A crash-marred first 50km represented the nerves present within the peloton however it wasn’t long before the first dangerous move of the day occurred. Approaching the second category 3 KoH of the day, a group of 24 riders went clear at the front of the race building an advantage of 60 seconds almost immediately. The group continued to work well together and extended their gap to over 3 minutes as the race approached the highly anticipated category 1 ascent of Wolf Trap in the Slieve Bloom mountains. 

Conor McGoldrick of UK: Trek Richardson passed over the crest of the KoH solo holding an advantage of 35 seconds on two chasers (Dan Gardener and Joseph Laverick) with 15km of racing remaining. McGoldrick was reeled in with less than 5km to go but was able to snatch victory from his comrades with a strong kick into the finish in Birr. 

The chasing group of approx. 10 riders were unlucky not to make contact with the leaders, and had to settle for a sprint for 4th place on the day. 2022 winner Daire Feeley and Conn McDunphy of Cycling Leinster were two notable county riders today and will be surely two riders to watch as the race progresses throughout the week.

Tomorrow’s stage 2 see’s the riders take on the 154.5k stage from Birr to Ennis featuring 5 categorised climbs including the category 2 ascent @ Maghera Mast.