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Pinotti wins Tour of Ireland as teammate Rabon takes final

Columbia put on a textbook display of team tactics at the Tour of Ireland, commanding the stage win and the overall victory on an aggressive final stage that blew the field apart. Frantisek Rabon dispensed of his breakaway companions on the punishing finishing circuit in Cork to take the win 15 seconds ahead of Pezula’s Fredrik Ericsson. Behind, Marco Pinotti countered off the attack of teammate Michael Barry to launch a successful solo bid for the overall.

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U.S.-based team takes four of five stages and overall title in Ireland

By Ben Delaney

Frantisek Rabon wins the day.

Frantisek Rabon wins the day.

Photo: Pete Goding

Columbia put on a textbook display of team tactics at the Tour of Ireland, commanding the stage win and the overall victory on an aggressive final stage that blew the field apart. Frantisek Rabon dispensed of his breakaway companions on the punishing finishing circuit in Cork to take the win 15 seconds ahead of Pezula’s Fredrik Ericsson. Behind, Marco Pinotti countered off the attack of teammate Michael Barry to launch a successful solo bid for the overall.

Russell Downing (Pinarello CandiTV) fought valiantly to preserve the yellow jersey he earned with his stage 4 win, but ended up fourth on the day, leading in a four-man group 1:37 down on Rabon. He finished second on GC, with Garmin-Chipotle’s Julian Dean rounding out the final podium.

Marco Pinotti earns the final leader's jersey.

Marco Pinotti earns the final leader’s jersey.

Photo: Pete Goding

“This year I have won two time trials, but this is the first time this season I’ve won a stage race,” Pinotti said. “I’m overjoyed.”

The “harmless” break
Rabon never expected to win when he made his way into the day’s early breakaway. Headed up the long drag of the first KOM, five men went clear: Rabon, Ericsson, Thomas Rabou (Rabobank), Mauro Richeze (CSF Group Navigare) and Ilya Chernetskiy (Tinkoff).

Rabou was happy to be there, but his companions didn’t share the feeling — Rabou was the only one who wasn’t way down on GC (he started the day 40 seconds back). After a bit of attacking dispensed of Rabou and Richeze, the remaining three settled down to the day’s work.

Four trips up St. Patrick's Hill made for a tough, tough day.

Four trips up St. Patrick’s Hill made for a tough, tough day.

Photo: Pete Goding

On the last two of four trips up the 25 percent St. Patrick’s Hill, an elite group of about eight riders went clear, each time containing Downing, Barry, Pinotti, Garmin-Chipotle’s Julian Dean and Team Type 1’s Matt Wilson, the latter two of whom sat in second and third overall, respectively.

Up ahead, the lead group lost Chernetskiy on the final climb and with the remaining two-man breakaway up the road irrelevant to the GC, Dean and Wilson punched out numerous times, looking to carve out the few vital seconds that separated them from Downing. Isolated without teammates, Downing nonetheless fought back the moves.

“I said to the team at the start of the day that I wanted to attack the stage and give it everything and either win the lot or lose it,” Wilson said. “I didn’t want to go home and think that I just followed wheels all day. I attacked as much as possible and gave it everything. Columbia just rode a perfect race.”

After the small group separated itself on the penultimate trip up St. Patrick’s Hill, Barry hit out alone, quickly building a 20-second gap on his pursuers. Ahead, Rabon and Ericsson kept pouring it on, maintaining their two-minute lead.

Barry puts in a big effort on St. Patrick's Hill.

Barry puts in a big effort on St. Patrick’s Hill.

Photo: Pete Goding

Laying over the bars, Barry held his gap over the six pursuers for about a lap of the 15km circuit that featured a few sharp hills. The remainder of that group was caught before St. Patrick’s Hill.

The last time up St. Patrick’s, the noisy crowd crushed in on Rabon and Ericsson, then Barry alone, and then Wilson, who attacked off the front of the peloton. His aggression drew out about 10 riders, including Dean and the yellow jersey Downing.

That 10-man group labored collectively to bring back Barry. As soon as the caught was made, Pinotti hit them. It was textbook.

“The guys out of the GC were supposed to attack before the finishing circuits, so Rabon went. I actually thought he would be chased down; I didn’t expect him to be that good,” said Columbia director Brian Holm. “I told the GC guys [Barry and Pinotti], wait, wait, wait, until two and a half laps to go. When we got the feeling that everyone was really friggin’ tired, then we started.”

Pinotti, the Italian national time trial champion, quickly built a 20-second lead over the yellow jersey group, which was soon caught by the tattered remnants of the peloton.

“I’m not so good on the steep climbs, so I tried to stay conservative there, but I made the most of my advantage on the flat,” Pinotti said. “The people on [St. Patrick’s Hill] were amazing. I hope they liked the show we put on today.”

At 2km to go, the two leaders Rabon and Ericsson hit the short but sharp Bakers Hill for the last time. From there, it was a bombing downhill to the last small rise at 400 meters to go. Ericsson flew around the corner onto Bakers Hill, and went full stick — but Rabon countered and left him behind.

“He was just that much better,” Ericsson said. “I was going into the corner first, and went as hard as I could. He came by like a rocket. What am I going to do, you know? I was already flat out.”

Cavendish had a great tour ... and a tough day.

Cavendish had a great tour … and a tough day.

Photo: Pete Goding

Behind, Pinotti was on his own rocket, flying up and over the Bakers Hill, securing his grip on the overall.

In a last-ditch attempt, Wilson attacked on Bakers, but Downing reeled him in and then went over the top.

Inside the last kilometer, Dean gave it a final effort, but Downing stayed glued to his wheel, and came around at the finish.

Minutes passed as groups of three and four trickled across the finish. At day’s end, only 57 riders finished the race.

“Columbia really had the advantage; they had two guys capable of wining the race today,” Dean said. “They rode perfectly. They were cool as cucumbers until two to go.”

With many of Columbia’s riders getting ready to ride the world championships, the Tour of Ireland proved to be good for both quality training and team morale.

“It was after the textbook, but you know it’s quite easy to be smart with tactics. All teams here understand good tactics,” Holm said. “You have to be smart, of course, but you can’t do anything unless the riders have good legs, like they did today.”

Photo Gallery

Results

Stage Results | (FINAL GC Standings)

2. Ericsson Fredrik (SWE), Pezula

3. Pinotti Marco (ITA), Team Columbia

4. Downing Russell (GBR), Pinarello Canditv at 01:37

5. Petter Nordhaug Lars (NOR), Joker Bianchi Team at s.t.

6. Dean Julian (NZL), Garmin Chipotle H30 at s.t.

7. Barry Michael (CAN), Team Columbia at s.t.

8. Clarke Simon (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at 01:40

9. Graziato Massimo (ITA), Tinkoff-Credit Systems at s.t.

10. Wilson Matt (AUS), Team Type 1 Cycling Team at s.t.

11. Rabunal Gonzalo (ESP), Karpin Galicia Cycling Team at 01:44

12. Maes Nikolas (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at s.t.

13. Evans Kevin (RSA), Mtn Energade at s.t.

14. Mazzanti Luca (ITA), Tinkoff-Credit Systems at 01:46

15. Rabou Thomas (NED), Rabobank at s.t.

16. Gottfried Alexander (GER), Tinkoff-Credit Systems at 01:51

17. Fleeman Daniel (GBR), An Post Sean Kelly Team at 01:52

18. Berkhout Thomas (NED), Rabobank at 01:59

19. Hovelijnck Kurt (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at s.t.

20. Aiken Roger (IRL), Irish National Team at s.t.

21. Aernouts Bart (BEL), Rabobank at s.t.

22. Francisco Mouron Juan (ESP), Karpin Galicia Cycling Team at s.t.

23. Coenen Johan (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at s.t.

24. Kobzarenko Valeriy (UKR), Team Type 1 Cycling Team at s.t.

25. House Kristian (GBR), Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk at s.t.

26. Lloyd Daniel (GBR), An Post Sean Kelly Team at s.t.

27. Klimov Serguei (RUS), Tinkoff-Credit Systems at s.t.

28. Jennings Cameron (AUS), Pezula at 02:17

29. George David (RSA), Mtn Energade at 02:20

30. Neyens Maarten (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at 03:05

31. Walker Johnnie (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at 03:08

32. Semple Adam (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at s.t.

33. Sulzberger Wesley (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at 03:11

34. Meyer Travis (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at s.t.

35. Lowe Trent (AUS), Garmin Chipotle H30 at s.t.

36. Briggs Graham (GBR), Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk at 04:55

37. Renders Sven (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at s.t.

38. Priamo Matteo (ITA), Csf Group Navigare at s.t.

39. Poppel Boy Van (NED), Rabobank at s.t.

40. Surutkovych Alex. (UKR), Team Type 1 Cycling Team at 05:29

41. Adams Joeri (BEL), Rabobank at 07:44

42. Troncoso Ramon (ESP), Karpin Galicia Cycling Team at s.t.

43. Power Ciaran (IRL), Pezula at 09:07

44. O’brien Paidi (IRL), An Post Sean Kelly Team at s.t.

45. Schrooder Benny De (BEL), An Post Sean Kelly Team at s.t.

46. Kristoff Alexander (NOR), Joker Bianchi Team at 12:11

47. Nolf Frederiek (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at s.t.

48. Macdonald Neil (RSA), Mtn Energade at s.t.

49. Sinkeldam Ramon (NED), Rabobank at 12:25

50. Elliott Malcom (GBR), Pinarello Canditv at s.t.

51. Cassidy Mark (IRL), An Post Sean Kelly Team at s.t.

52. Erik Vold Svein (NOR), Joker Bianchi Team at s.t.

53. Paleo Alejandro (ESP), Karpin Galicia Cycling Team at 14:56

54. Concannon Miceal (IRL), Irish National Team at 16:43

55. Griffin Paul (IRL), Irish National Team at s.t.

56. O’sullivan Stephen (IRL), Irish National Team at s.t.

57. Downing Dean (GBR), Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk at s.t.



Final GC Standings | (Stage Results)

1. Pinotti, Marco (ITA), Team Columbia

2. Downing, Russell (GBR), Pinarello Canditv

3. Dean, Julian (NZL), Garmin Chipotle H30 at 21

4. Wilson, Matt (AUS), Team Type 1 Cycling Team at 33

5. Barry, Michael (CAN), Team Columbia at 36

6. Clarke, Simon (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at 37

7. Nordhaug, Lars Petter (NOR), Joker Bianchi Team s.t.

8. Rabunal, Gonzalo (ESP), Karpin Galicia Cycling Team at 38

9. Maes, Nikolas (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at 44

10. Evans, Kevin (RSA), Mtn Energade s.t.

11. Mazzanti, Luca (ITA), Tinkoff – Credit Systems at 46

12. Gottfried, Alexander (GER), Tinkoff – Credit Systems at 50

13. Fleeman, Daniel (GBR), An Post Sean Kelly Team at 52

14. Hovelijnck, Kurt (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at 54

15. Lloyd, Daniel (GBR), An Post Sean Kelly Team at 56

16. Kobzarenko, Valeriy (UKR), Team Type 1 Cycling Team at 59

17. Klimov, Serguei (RUS), Tinkoff – Credit Systems s.t.

18. Coenen, Johan (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen s.t.

19. Rabou, Thomas (NED), Rabobank at 01:08

20. Sulzberger, Wesley (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at 03:09

21. House, Kristian (GBR), Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk at 05:09

22. Aiken, Roger (IRL), Irish National Team s.t.

23. Semple, Adam (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at 06:18

24. Adams, Joeri (BEL), Rabobank at 07:43

25. Graziato, Massimo (ITA), Tinkoff – Credit Systems at 09:15

26. Mouron, Juan Francisco (ESP), Karpin Galicia Cycling Team at 09:34

27. Jennings, Cameron (AUS), Pezula at 09:52

28. Berkhout, Thomas (NED), Rabobank at 09:56

29. Lowe, Trent (AUS), Garmin Chipotle H30 at 10:46

30. Aernouts, Bart (BEL), Rabobank at 12:07

31. Van Poppel, Boy (NED), Rabobank at 12:30

32. Priamo, Matteo (ITA), Csf Group Navigare s.t.

33. Walker, Johnnie (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at 13:16

34. Cassidy, Mark (IRL), An Post Sean Kelly Team at 13:29

35. Meyer, Travis (AUS), Southaustralia.com/ais at 14:09

36. Renders, Sven (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at 15:34

37. Power, Ciaran (IRL), Pezula at 17:02

38. Ericsson, Fredrik (SWE), Pezula at 17:23

39. Surutkovych, Alex. (UKR), Team Type 1 Cycling Team at 18:19

40. Kristoff, Alexander (NOR), Joker Bianchi Team at 19:37

41. Elliott, Malcom (GBR), Pinarello Canditv at 20:00

42. Sinkeldam, Ramon (NED), Rabobank s.t.

43. Rabon, Frantisek (CZE), Team Columbia at 20:01

44. Neyens, Maarten (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at 21:07

45. Troncoso, Ramon (ESP), Karpin Galicia Cycling Team at 21:19

46. MacDonald, Neil (RSA), Mtn Energade at 25:23

47. George, David (RSA), Mtn Energade at 26:12

48. Nolf, Frederiek (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen at 28:34

49. De Schrooder, Benny (BEL), An Post Sean Kelly Team at 29:16

50. Downing, Dean (GBR), Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk at 33:06

51. Briggs, Graham (GBR), Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk at 33:49

52. O’Brien, Paidi (IRL), An Post Sean Kelly Team at 35:10

53. Vold, Svein Erik (NOR), Joker Bianchi Team at 38:28

54. Griffin, Paul (IRL), Irish National Team at 39:17

55. Paleo, Alejandro (ESP), Karpin Galicia Cycling Team at 40:09

56. Concannon, Miceal (IRL), Irish National Team at 43:06

57. O’Sullivan, Stephen (IRL), Irish National Team at 56:52