Cycling Australia's Michael Storer celebrates winning the fourth stage of The Rás. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Michael Storer of the Australia National Team took an emphatic solo victory on stage four of An Post Rás into Buncrana today.
Storer crossed the line one minute and fifty five seconds over second place Jacob Sitler (USA CCB Velotooler) with Morgan Kneiskey (France Armée de Terre) claiming third spot. Yesterday’s stage three winner, Irishman, Matthew Teggart finished just on Kneisky’s shoulder, topping the general classification (GC) and becoming the new yellow jersey leader.
Day four of the eight route took the riders into the heart of Donegal where they faced a challenging route including five categorised climbs with the monstrous Mamore Gap rearing its head just over 10 kilometres before the finish.
Following Tuesday's fierce day of riding, today’s stage required a more measured approach with the riders patiently waiting to make their move. The first hour saw a flurry of attacks but nothing of considerable substance to establish a decent gap. At 50km, An Post Chain Reaction rider, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz opened up a lead with a group of six chasers catching him to establish a leading break.
Approaching the first of the ascents, the leading group were clear of the peloton with a healthy one minute fifty second advantage. Gruffudd Lewis (Britain Madison Genesis) proved strong over the climbs, impressively claiming the first three which included Maghera Beg, Slavery Hill and Old Mountain.
The break was eventually reeled in but following the third climb, Storer and Sitler began their attack, going clear by 47 seconds. Kasperkiewicz gave chase and joined briefly but couldn’t keep pace. It was Storer who edged Sitler to take the Pinch Mountain prime, and subsequently pushed clear to take the category one Mamore Gap. From there on in, the Australian had the stage settled, finding the legs to establish a one minute gap over Sitler.
With one kilometre to go, Storer had the stage in the palm of his hands and he cruised into Buncrana where he was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd of well-wishers.
Speaking after his win, the Australian said: “I went hard up the last few climbs to try and get away. I did my best to get a lot of time and to try and get the stage win as well. I was surprised I could get away in those last few climbs especially Mamore Gap which was tough – it’s a solid climb!”
There were more celebrations for young Irish rider Matthew Teggart, who was just denied third in an exciting sprint to the finish. Coupled with his thrilling stage three win the Banbridge man now heads the GC and is also the new wearer of the green jersey. His success also sees him keeping hold of the Under-23 jersey.
Following the five categorised climbs, Michael Storer is the new King of the Mountains. Daire Feeley (Galway Team iTap) was the best of the county riders and tops the county rider table.