Commonwealth Games cyclist Patrick Bevin has claimed his second stage win to cement his place in the lead of the An Post Ras tour of Ireland today.
Bevin, part of the New Zealand team who are using the Tour to prepare for endurance track events at the Commonwealth Games, retained his lead at the top of the general classification after outsprinting last year's winner Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Velosure Giordana) and Peter Williams (France Bretagne Velotec) in the toughest stage into Cahirciveen.
Today's stage four was pinpointed by many as the toughest of this year's race. Not only was it the longest of the eight stages, at 183 kms, but it featured 10 categorised climbs. The daunting category one ascent of Coomanaspic looked certain to play a key role in the day's proceedings.
A breakaway group put two minutes into the peloton and brought a virtual change of the lead. But the New Zealand team, led by Bevin, were chipping away at the breakaway's lead and approaching the final climb at Coomanaspic the gap was down to 1 minute 15 seconds.
With 10kms to go the yellow jersey group had closed the gap to just 45 seconds and the catch came with 4kms remaining.
Alex Peters (Britain Madison Genesis) attacked and went clear but with only a few hundred metres to the line, yellow jersey leader Bevin burst to the front to claim a magnificent victory.
Bevin was overjoyed with the stage win and also keeping his lead at the top of the general classification intact but attributed the victory to his hard working team mates.
"It's amazing to get the win but it was all down to the great work of the New Zealand National team. They worked so hard and the stage win is a testament to their work.
"Going over the last climb I was at the front of the bunch and I just took it step by step. I managed to catch one group, then another and I just found myself right up the front and at that stage I just couldn't help but go for the stage win."
Bevin retains a 1 minute 55 seconds lead over Clemens Fankhauser (Austria) and Alessandro Pettiti (Italy) at the top of the general classification, and also retains the points classification jersey.