The last few years saw stage 2 take place in Kenmare with an excursion into West Cork to tackle the infamous Healy Pass, however with a new route for 2017 riders started the stage with an element of trepidation due to the unknown terrain ahead. The Listowel stage was sponsored by Gene Moriarty & Sons Electrical Contractors & Listowel Cycling Club.
The stage started with multiple futile attacks, the first promising attempt of Lacey, Dowling, McNamara, Ryan & Killarneys O’Connell was brought back on the first KOM, an indication of the fast pace.
The ascent of 2nd KOM at 30Km wreaked havoc with the bunch splitting in 2 with multiple riders discarded out the rear of the 2nd bunch. At the 40km point a group of 5 riders including Paul Kennedy (Newcastle West), Dillon Byrne (VCUK), Derek Turlock (Lucan), Eoin Morton (UCD) & Conn McDunphy (Cycling Ireland), established a break. This quintet worked well together extending their lead to 1 minute and 30 seconds at the halfway point as they entered Foynes.
Shortly after, Henry Latimer (Surrey League) managed to establish a lead of 30 seconds over the bunch and was joined to 2 others, meanwhile at the front of the race Morton took the Cat 2 KOM at the village of Glin extending his virtual lead in the King of the Mountains classification.
With the Isle of Man team driving the peloton to protect their yellow jersey the lead of the breakaway was down to 1 minute with 45Km to go. Morton seized the opportunity and went on the attack, building a lead of 250 meters, however his effort was short lived.
With 25km to go the leaders were pursued by a group of 10 including the yellow jersey, Latimer, Carpenter, Dowling, Garthwaite, McLaughlin, Reilly, O’Mahony and Finn. This group of 10 came with 45 seconds before the lead went out to 1 minute, with the bunch at 2.35. At the 10km to go mark the lead over the 10 chasers was down to 35 seconds. It was touch and go whether the break would maintain their lead and contest the sprint for the stage win. Despite getting within touching distance the 10 man chase group failed to make the catch, with local man Paul Kennedy taking the sprint to win the Gene Moriarty Cup. Morton took 2nd and Byrne took the final podium spot. While Turlock took 4th missing out on a podium spot, he will be rewarded for his ride today by wearing the white U23 classification jersey tomorrow.
Kennedy takes the yellow despite the valiant ride by Mazzone and his Isle of Mann team. **(Provisional Results)