Paudi O’Brien eclipsed a star studded field of cyclists from Holland, Italy, England, Isle of Man and France to land the spoils on the first stage of the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan Friday afternoon in Killorglin, Co. Kerry.
One sixty-three cyclists faced the starter in the town renowned for the “Puck Fair” which is held there each August.
The defending champion Sean Lacey (Dan Morrissey/Speedy-Spokes), Conor Murphy (Eurocycles) Michael Barry (Cuchulainn) went clear of the main group after 30 kilometers of racing and held their advantage for the next 60 kilometers before their escape was nullified shortly after Castleisand.
In the re-grouping both Lacey and Murphy were involved in a crash which involved a number of riders. Fortunately both got back to the main group. But the day belonged to O’Brien who incidentally was winning back to back stages in the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan. The “pocket rocket” as Paudi is known by, was also successful in the final stage last year.
“I came into the final bend in fourth position and just waited until the ascent of the hill before I streaked ahead to win the stage. It means the team will be on the defensive today (Saturday), but that is what cycling racing is all about, defending the “yellow Jersey,” as Paudi cycled away to his digs and a nice hot bath.
Saturdays stage leaves Dingle at mid-day with a hill top finish on the Conor Pass after a 126 kilometers of racing.