TEAM Isle of Man-Microgaming rider Ken Hanson will be in yellow for Monday?s second stage of the FBD Insurance Ras after snatching victory in a bunch sprint finish to the first stage.
At the end of the 142-kilometre opening day from Navan to Ballinamore, Hanson held off a bunch full of reknowned sprinters to take victory, edging ahead of Patrick Kos of the Netherlands national team, while Ben de Schrooder (Ireland-An Post) took third.
The best of the English riders was Dean Downing, the Rapha Condor-Recycling rider, who crossed the line fifth.
Attacks had been going all day but none made much headway until a 19-rider break got just over a minute on the bunch.
While there were several different nationalities and teams represented, neither the Irish national team or their countrymen on the Pezula Racing Team had any riders in the front group, and as the race progressed those two teams turned the screw and caught the leading bunch with about 20km left.
Four kilometres from the finish Isle of Man rider Andy Roche burst off the front of the bunch in search of glory, taking with him Farshad Salehian of the Iranian team as well as Simon Richardson from Plowman Craven.
But with just 1km to go they were hauled back, leaving the sprinters jostling for position. It was Hanson who took the lead, starting his sprint with 300 metres left and holding it to the line.
25-year-old Hanson is based in America where he rides professionally for the California Giant-Berry CT. He is guesting for the Isle of Man team, but knows Ireland well, and his grandparents still live there.
His recent form has seen him win the Hanford Sentinel Criterium and Pine Flat Road Race in California, as well as finishing third in the prestigious Athens Twilight Criterium in Georgia last month.
FBD Insurance Ras.- Stage one (Navan to Ballinamore, 142km).-
1 Ken Hanson (Team Isle of Man-Microgaming) 3-06-32
2 Patrick Kos (Netherlands)
3 Ben De Schrooder (Ireland-An Post)
4 Mateusz Komar (Poland)
5 Dean Downing (Stena-Rapha Condor)
6 Mark Nestor (Eurocycles)
7 Scott McDonald (Meath Cycleways)
8 Renaud Pioline (France, Provence Alpes Cote)
9 Morten Hegreberg (Norway, Sparebanken)
10 Jean Marc Maurin (France, Provence Alpes Cote)
FDB Insurance Ras Preview