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M. Donnelly Junior Tour of Ireland - NE
Ireland, August 3-8, 2004
Stage 4 - August 6: Carrick-on-Suir Circuit, 53 miles
No changes in Carrick-on-Suir
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
The fourth stage of the Martin Donnelly Junior saw no change to the overall positions on the top of the leaderboard, and Britain's Ian Stannard maintained his 8 second lead.
Conditions were perfect and it was thought amongst the large crowd that had gathered in the region of the climbs that they were expecting a ding dong battle for the stage and possibly a change of leader. It was felt that the Dutch would attempt to reinvent themselves and send a message to all that Thursday's demise was only a temporary setback.
Overnight leader Ian Stannard was, thanks to the marshalling of his team, never concerned for his position as the race leader on a course which suited the climbers. It was held over 3 laps of a Carrick-on-Suir course that included the Carney’s Road hill, which surprisingly did not cause any great concern to the participants.
After the first lap the pattern of the race emerged when Daniel Martin, Ben Swift, Marcus Tracey (Killarney CC), Rob Ellden (Wales), Derek Burke (Swords McNally-Joinery), Ruud Beerten (Holland) and Peter Williams (Team North West BCF) attacked.
Once away, the septet set into a rhythm but the bunch did not take its foot off the pedal either. The break never went beyond the 40 second boundary, which may have concerned Stannard despite the fact that both Martin and Swift were part of his team.
On the final lap, Martin exerted pressure on his breakaway companions which saw them peel off the break in quick succession. As expected, Stannard was pleased to see the group ahead fall by the wayside and he was content to see the principals who had the most to gain attempt to rally forward on the lone leader.
Martin's bid for stage glory was similar to his heroics a fortnight ago when he won the British Junior Championship by an all out attack. As a lone leader now he had an advantage of 25 seconds, but now there was real urgency in the bunch as they raced at a hectic pace to nullify his bid for glory. Thankfully for him, the finishing line arrived before he was swallowed up.
Although it was anticipated that the climb would sort out the race, evidently the participants had more respect for it and there was no change to the overall, with the exception of Martin who moves to fourth in the standings on the leaderboard for his effort.
For many who have aspirations of taking the overall honours, tomorrow's stage with four king of hills primes may be the final window of opportunity to have a serious tilt in following in the footsteps of last year's overall winner, Kai Reus from Holland.
Sadly, for the Irish junior champion Maurice O'Brien from Kanturk, his opportunity disappeared when he punctured when the speed was at its fiercest. He did rejoin the bunch but his exertions proved that bit too much and he faded on the run in to the finish. All he can hope for now to salvage his tour is a stage win, which is not beyond his capabilities.
1 Daniel Martin (Great Britain) 2.06.53 2 A. de Batt (Holland) 0.06 3 R. Muscat (Belgium) 4 A. Hill (BCF North East Division) 5 S. O'Halloran (Swords-McNally Joinery) 6 S. Elzinga (Usher IRC) 7 G. Thomas (Wales) 8 C. Edwards (BC West Midlands) General classification after stage 4 1 I. Stannard (Great Britain) 6.33.03 2 P. Williams (Team North West BCF) 0.08 3 H. Pieter (South Africa) 0.14 4 Daniel Martin (Great Britain) 1.06 5 T. van Amerongen (Holland) 1.09 6 R. Geskin (Holland) 1.16 7 R. Muscat (Belgium) 1.19 8 A. de Batt (Holland) 1.24 Points 1 R. Muscat (Belgium) Mountains classification 1 R. Geskin (Holland) Teams classification 1 Holland