27 May 2016
UCD’s Eoin Morton put in the ride of his life to claim stage 2 of the An Post Rás after an epic two-man breakaway with Bryan McCrystal.
Morton distanced McCrystal by a few seconds in the sprint and with the yellow jersey group behind closing right in on the leaders in the last few kilometres, McCrystal did not get the time he needed. It was a disappointing end to the stage for him and a repeat of his stage 2 agony of last year when a really brave lone breakaway was foiled in the closing stages.
In the stage, both Morton and McCrystal rode like lions to hold off the charge of the main field.
They attacked before the 183.7km stage from Mullingar to Charleville – the longest of the race – had even reached the halfway point and at one stage their lead went over six minutes.
And with 6km remaining it was still 1:30 and it looked like the county men were about to have their day on the Rás.
And so it came to pass; the duo hanging on and Morton taking victory on the line on a day that will go down in the folklore of the race and put to rest the debate about whether county men can compete with the pros.
In the end, Morton took the stage by 4 seconds from McCrystal, with the large yellow jersey group just seven seconds further back.
Twitter went bananas for Eoin Morton’s epic Rás stage win and Morton himself Eoin Morton was clearly overwhelmed having won the stage 2 of the race from Mullingar into Charleville. Having ended the debate about whether the county riders can compete in the An Post Rás in the ‘professional era’, he was looking forward to ringing his father – Peter Morton – who won a Rás stage in Mallow in the late 1970s and about trying to take it all in.
Morton: “I’m gonna ring my da, he won a stage too. It’s a story”
Today the race kicks off in Clonakilty, with the first stage of the race; Clonakilty to Dungarvan in aid of Breast Cancer Research.