PEZULA Racing star David O?Loughlin won the final stage of the FBD Insurance Ras in impressive style as the race finished in Skerries following a 130-kilometre stage.
O?Loughlin sprinted home just inches ahead of Plowman Craven RT?s Evan Oliphant to cheers from hundreds of spectators who had come out to line the streets to watch the race as it completed three circuits before reaching the finish line.
The duo had been part of a four-rider group which included O?Loughlin?s team-mate Cameron Jennings and Poland?s Blazej Janiackzyk, and they went clear after about 30 minutes of the stage, quickly building up a lead over a bunch which looked indifferent to chasing.
With 30 kilometres covered the break had gained more than one minute, and they were pulling out seconds by the pedal turn while the bunch trundled along behind, with none of the four escapees a real threat to the overall.
With almost four minutes? lead on the bunch the leaders reached Skerries ahead of schedule with a fast pace being set despite a slight headwind.
With two laps of a 13.8-kilometre circuit to complete their thoughts began turning to the finish, and it was Jennings who showed his hand first, attacking after the final climb.
But he is quickly caught by O?Loughlin, who then carries on his effort and gets around 30 seconds clear before Oliphant catches him and the duo push on.
As the reached the line O?Loughlin just edged out Oliphant, while Janiaczyk held off Jennings for the final spot on the podium.
O?Loughlin?s team-mate Ciaran Power led in the bunch, while points leader Dean Downing (Rapha Condor) was sixth to secure that jersey overall, while Stephen Gallagher (Ireland An Post) retained the yellow jersey and became the first Irish winner of the Ras since 2004.
FBD Insurance Ras (Stage eight, Newbridge to Skerries).-
1 David O?Loughlin (Ireland, Pezula Racing) 133km in 3-22-13
2 Evan Oliphant (Plowman Craven RT) same time
3 Blazej Janiaczyk (Poland) at 37sec
4 Cameron Jennings (Ireland, Pezula Racing) same time
5 Ciaran Power (Ireland, Pezula Racing) at 1-16
6 Dean Downing (Rapha Condor-Recycling)
7 Mateusz Komar (Poland)
8 Paul Healion (Dublin, McNally Swords)
9 Patrick Kos (Netherlands)
10 Stephen O?Sullivan (Meath My Home.ie) all same time
1 Stephen Gallagher (Ireland An Post)
2 Roger Aiken (Ireland) at 1-42
3 Rob Partridge (Rapha Condor-Recycling) at 1-43
4 Alex Higham (Plowman Craven RT) at 1-45
5 Razaei Khormizi (Iran, Islamic Azad University) at 1-55
6 Wojciech Dybel (Poland) at 2-30
7 Dean Downing (Rapha Condor-Recycling) at 2-40
8 Keiran Page (Ireland, Pezula Racing) at 2-47
9 Benny de Schrooder (Ireland, An Post) at 3-01
10 Paidi O?Brien (Ireland, An Post) at 3-05