Cycling: Kiwi leads Tour of Ireland

Shane Archbold. Photo / Getty Images
Shane Archbold. Photo / Getty Images

World track cycling silver medallist Shane Archbold has moved into the leader's yellow jersey on the second day of the Ras Tour of Ireland today.

The Timaru rider got himself into a key break with four riders eventually fighting out for the sprint finish in the mostly flat 164km stage to Kilrush, west of Dublin, with Archbold finishing second. On a day where riders battled fierce winds, Gediminas Bagdonas from the favoured An Post Sean Kelly team edged Archbold in the sprint.

With both riders given the same time, Archbold moved into yellow after his fourth placing in the opening stage. The Lithuania rider is second on general classification with the same time ahead of Australia's Stuart Shaw.

After navigating the one significant climb of the day, the field fragmented with the brutal winds that gusted up to 100kph.

Marlborough's Cameron Karwowski managed to make it into the small break which allowed the rest of the New Zealand team to shelter in the pack.

Archbold, who is part of the BikeNZ endurance track squad who are competing extensively on the roads in Europe in preparation for next year's campaign towards the London Olympics, and leader Dean Dowling bridged up to a break of three riders with 30kms remaining, before the yellow jersey holder was dropped.

The remaining four riders battled sometimes at only 20kph in the conditions with Archbold just pipped in the final sprint.

"It was a brutal day and such tough conditions," said BikeNZ coach Stu MacDonald.

"We were actually a bit disappointed not to do better in yesterday's sprint but today the guys rode so well in the conditions.

"Cam did brilliantly to make it up to the front in the first break and Shane showed his class today."

There will be no let-up tomorrow for stage three, the longest stage of the tour of 175kms with four categorised climbs.

The New Zealand team is now second to An Post Sean Kelly in the team category.

The eight-day race includes 185 riders from 12 international teams along with a host of British and Irish teams battling over 1247 kilometres with 28 categorised climbs.

- NZPA

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