2015 An Post Rás – Stage 7 (Liam Dolan)

Another day of savage speed, 142km from Ballinamore to Drogheda in my home county of Louth. We started, surprise surprise, fast! Lined out and after about 5km while lined out the yellow jersey crashed. I was expecting us to sit up but the “respect the yellow” curtosity was not extended to him…Unfortunately!

The pace stayed high and a couple of promising looking groups got up the road but to no avail and at 50km we were all still together. The first climb of the day was a steady drag of a Cat 3 and the day’s break got away. Normal service resumed then with the yellow jerseys team on the front banging out a consistent tempo. It is impressive how steady/hard those guys can ride day in day out. The next climb was a steep Cat 2 on very narrow roads, we rode it hard but not aggressive and I was comfortable.

We crossed into Louth, on roads i know inside out. The last climb of the dag, a Cat 3 saw the fireworks start at the top. An exposed road and sidewinds saw the Belgian 3M team hit the front and from there the pace didn’t let up for the next 35km to the finish. It was fast, at one stags I noticed we stalled, looked at the Garmin and we were still doing 44kph! I was relatively confortable and had no major problems sitting close to the front of the bunch. The break’s lead wax down to 2.5mins by the line.

So one more stage to go, but it feels like you can never relax in this race. Once a stage is over you know the next day will be harder and with a lot of families coming to Skerries the pace will be MENTAL as people want to look good.

Its also our last night together as a team, 5 riders and 4 support crew. We genuinely have had a laugh and I will be sorry saying goodbye to everyone after the race tomorrow. It will be a bit of an anticlimax as once we finish everyone will be keen to pack up and get home to their families. Yes it will be strange leaving the Ras bubble. Out of habit I’ll probably pin numbers to my shirt for work on Monday morning