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Martin Kohler was BMC's best finisher in stage 2 at the Tour of Ireland (foto by Tim De Waele)
Martin Kohler was BMC's best finisher in stage 2 at the Tour of Ireland (foto by Tim De Waele)

Martin Kohler snags 12th in Ireland stage two; GC to be decided Sunday

22. August 2009


Since Sunday's third and final stage of the Tour of Ireland could very well break up the field and see a small group or solo rider vying for the victory, Saturday's 196 kilometer stage from Clonmel to Killarney was the last sure-fire opportunity for the sprinters to bag a win. 

Stage two did indeed come down to a bunch gallop and to no one's surprise Mark Cavendish added to his tally of stage victories in Ireland.  BMC's Martin Kohler and Tony Cruz both had strong sprints finishing the stage 12th and 13th, respectively.  Now the Swiss-American crew will be looking to Sunday to see how high they can position their two GC hopefuls Mathias Frank and Florian Stalder.

Long break, fast sprint

The day started out with a two man break sneaking off the front after barely 3 kilometers had been raced.  Though the two escapees had over 16 minutes advantage at one point, there was little expectation that they would be able to stay clear the entire 200 kilometers.  The big sprinter's teams easily reeled in the duo over the final climb and the pack whisked into Killarney with only the best bike handlers able to keep position.  BMC's Kohler and Cruz started the sprint well placed at the front of the pack, though they were on opposite sides of the road.  "I'm not overly satisfied with this result since a top 10 was the goal," Kohler said.  "Tony and I were unlucky in our positioning since I ended up on the left side of the road and he was on the right side, so we weren't able to help each other at all and just ended up doing our own sprints."  Cruz ran out of gears on the slightly downhill run-in to the finish which meant he lost some places.  "We did our best, but 12th and 13th kind of looks bad!" Kohler joked. 

Tough circuits around Cork

With the race finishing in Cork, the riders will have to scale the St. Patrick's Hill three times.  Other sections of the circuit also will challenge the group with pitches of over 20%.  Since only 23 riders still have a shouting chance to shoot for the overall victory and the ride around Cork is anything but an easy Sunday excursion, the race will certainly come down to the last man standing on MacCurtain Street.  Columbia, Astana and Saxo Bank are all well represented on the leader board, though BMC is confident that with Mathias Frank and Florian Stalder, they have two very strong options to make a play for a top finish.