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M. Donnelly Junior Tour of Ireland - NE

Ireland, August 3-8, 2004

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Stage 2 - August 4: Clonmel - Clonmel, 55 miles

Dutch riders in control

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent/Evening Herald/Sunday Independent

The Dutch have certainly taken a stranglehold on all the principal jerseys that are up for grabs in this year's M Donnelly Junior Tour and it is only day two of six days of competition based in the Waterford area.

Not content to be defending the overnight lead by Thjis van Amerongen they pitched Arjen de Batt into a lead group on day two, that has on paper looks to have put daylight between themselves and the rest of the bunch, but as they say in the song, "It's not over until the fat lady sings."

Yesterday with a start and finish in the town of Clonmel, which down the years has a strong tradition of cycling. The organising committee with the co-operation of An Garda Siohana in the town were not found wanting as they provided a safe passage for all personnel attached to the JT.

In the dash to the line, Ian Stannard of the Great Britain squad got the verdict with a well deserved stage win, with de Batt second and Peter Williams of the BC West Midlands team in third spot.

It has to be said the GB lads also played a very clever ploy similar to the Dutch who had Daniel Martin in second place overnight and widely regarded as one of the pre-race favourites after his resounding success in the recent British Junior Championships.

Certainly, the damage, which caused a lot of participants to lose their pace at the head of the stage, was done on the ascent of the 'Vee' where the pace was frantic as the fragmented bunch edged towards the summit after five miles of climbing.

Robert Geskin (Holland) who has a distinctive turn of speed mainly because of his time trialling ability went over the prime line ahead of Robert Felix (France) and Ian Bibby (Team North West BCF), but their particular injection of speed obviously softened up everybody as the lead between the three leaders and those dropped off the pace was a little over five minutes.

On the descent into Cappoquinn (30 miles) there was a re-grouping of all the principals' overnight, but there was still some tactics to be put into gear.

With 33 miles of racing completed of the 57, a group of nine literally trickled off the front of the steady moving bunch and edged ahead. In the beginning the break, evidently, was of no real concern to the top 10 overnight, but it quickly established itself.

Within miles they were gaining time as the bunch started to deploy stop go tactics which in the end cost and may ultimately decide the destination of the overall honours in this years event which has attracted by far the biggest overseas entry for years.

Best of the home teams was Martin Munroe of the Ireland Stena Line in fifth place. Martin gave a rather subdued performance in the recent Irish Junior Championships, having come into the championships on the back of a sterling performance in Ras Connachta at the beginning of July.

Along with Derek Burke in 7th place overall and who is guesting for the Swords McNally team, they are keeping the challenge of the Irish team to the forefront. After that you have to go down to 17th place were the next best Irish competitor is, Maurice O'Brien from Kanturk who can still be regarded to give a good account of himself.

Today's stage has a start and finish in Waterford and heads out for the 57 miles of racing from the W.I.T. Centre on the Cork Road at mid-day.


1 Ian Stannard (Great Britain)         2.17.58
2 A. de Baat (Holland)
3 P. Williams (Team North West BCF)
4 T. Morzot (USA)
5 M. Munroe (Ireland-Stena Line)
6 D. Burke (Swords-McNally Joinery)
7 B. Pierrecril (Belgium)
8 H. Pieter (South Africa)
General classification after stage 2
1 Arjen de Batt (Holland)              2.20.51
2 Ian Stannard (Great Britain)            0.05
3 T. Morzot (USA)                         0.07
4 B. Pierrecril (Belgium)                 0.12
5 P. Williams (Team North West BCF)       0.13
6 M. Munroe (Ireland-Stena Line)          0.14
7 D. Burke (Swords-McNally Joinery)       0.15
8 H. Pieter (South Africa)
Mountains classification
1 R. Gestin (Holland)
Points classification
1 Arjen de Batt (Holland)