Timaru cyclist Shane Archbold was edged out of victory in a sprint finish at the end the fourth stage of Tour of Ireland today (NZT).
The BikeNZ endurance track squad member was pipped on the line by tour leader Lithuania's Gediminas Bagdonas at the end of the 142km stage to Castletownbere on the south western coast of Ireland.
It was the second time on the tour that the 22-year-old had been forced into second place, but with Bagdonas in the yellow jersey at least Archbold will have the honour of wearing the sprint leader's jersey for the fifth stage tomorrow.
Under-23 track squad teammate Aaron Gate was part of the 37-strong lead pack to contest the sprint and is now in fifth place on general classification, one minute 31 seconds behind Bagdonas. The Auckland rider maintains his advantage over Archbold in the overall under-23 jersey.
Archbold is in eighth place on general classification and is four points behind Bagdonas in the points classification after four of the tour's eight stages.
"It was a case of nearly but not quite today. The team did a great job to ensure we could get Shane and Aaron over the big category one climb in touch with the leaders,'' said coach Stu MacDonald.
"Shane did come down on the descent but got back on and an initial splinter to a front group came back together with 8kms to go. Aaron sacrificed himself to lead-out for Shane and he looked very strong.
"We are having problems locating the approach signs and accordingly Shane went a bit too early and got pipped. He was gutted and the team were gutted because we feel we had done it right and that Shane is the best sprinter here."
Tomorrow's 152km fifth stage features six climbs to the town of Blarney.