|On May 20th the UKs top road team Pro Vision -Planet|
X rode the 8 day Irish Milk Ras ó under-funded , and virtually without backup this
is their story as the race unfolded .
The RAS is a one off; a race where a rider can lose 10 minutes one day but still
win, a constant pendulum of ups and downs of time gains and time losses. The team
consisted of only three riders meaning that it would be virtually impossible to control
any part of the race, hence the plan was simple; to treat each day as a one day race
, and to ride the race in an attacking do or die style. The team motto soon became
"Youíve got to be in it to win it".
Current UK road champion ; likely to be heavily marked , probably the classiest rider
in the race.
Renowned hardman and famous for his take no prisoners riding style.
The teams rivet rider. Usually up there from the gun and who believes the only way
to race is to attack .
|STAGE 1 ; DUBLIN|
|Lovatt gets in the winning break finishing 11th on the|
stage. Randle and Tanner are heavily marked in the bunch and lose over 4 minutes
each as the bunch comes in 4 minutes down on the break.
GC ; Lovatt 11th @3s , Randle 26th @ 4.04 , Tanner 114th @ 4.04
Team lies 7th in the team classification at 4.01
2 LONGFORD-NEWPORT 101 mile
|Lovatt is instructed not to take the yellow jersey as|
it would be undefendable for a 3 man team (all other teams are 5 man ).
Lovatt again makes the days break. Randle and Tanner stranded in the bunch over 3
minutes down but they attack the bunch taking 6 riders with them and bridge the gap
to the leading break showing the other riders in the race they are riding strongly.
The stage is won by Irishman Brian Kinnealy with Tanner breaking away from the lead
group to take 2nd on the stage.
Lovatt reluctantly dons the yellow jersey telling all who will listen that he has
no intention of defending it. His teammates know better.
STAGE ; Tanner [email protected] , Lovatt [email protected] 1-20 , Randle 13th @ 1-20
GC ; Lovatt 1st , Tanner 20th @ 3.29 , Randle [email protected]
TEAM ; 3rd at 3-16
3 NEWPORT – OUGHTERARD 75 mile
|Today the day the riders start to show their form to|
the race ; again all three riders make the final cut.
Lovatt increases his lead in the yellow jersey and Randle takes 2nd on the stage.
Team moves up to 2nd overall. The stage is won by Julian Winn who is showing great
STAGE ; Randle 2nd st , Lovatt [email protected] 5sec , Tanner 7th at 5sec
GC L Lovatt 1st by 13sec , Tanner 11th at 3.29 , Randle 14th at 4.09
Team ; 2nd at 21sec .
4 ; OUGHTERARD – LISTOWEL 106 Mile
|If everything had gone well to date this was the day|
it went wrong. Thirty riders went from the gun soon establishing a big lead of 5
minutes. Randle had only just made the break, meanwhile Lovatt and Tanner were stranded
in the group and could find no one to ride with them, eventually losing almost 5
minutes to the leaders.
Whilst Randle salvaged some respect with a 3rd on the stage, Lovatts days in yellow
were over, and seemingly now out of contention .
Irish rider David O Loughlin takes the yellow jersey .
Further controversy arose when Randle was fined £50 for public indecency offence
( ie pissing on the start line ). Rumour was rife in the team camp that the USA
team had only been fined £ 20 for the same offence giving speculation that
the fine was on a £ 5 per inch basis.
STAGE ; Randle 3rd at 4s , Lovatt 27th @ 4.52 , Tanner 28th @ 4.52
GC ; Randle 6th at 3.31 , Lovatt 7th at 3.55 , Tanner 17th at 7.24
Team 4th at 8.00
5 ; LISTOWEL – KENMARE 106 Mile
|Todays stage took in the Rink of Kerry and included the|
Cat 1 Coomakista pass climb .
A 10 man break quickly established itself with the main contenders jockeying in the
main bunch. On the climb of Coomakista Pass, Lovatt attacked the bunch and in a do
or die attack soon bridging to the leading group. As Gethin Butler soloed away to
a well earned victory, Lovatt took the 3rd on the stage , but his efforts received
scant reward as the bunch closed the gap on him to 20 seconds. O Loughlin meanwhile
continued to impress the Pro Vision team with his holding of the yellow jersey.
STAGE ; 3rd Lovatt at 50 sec , 62 Tanner,63 Randle at 1-11
GC ; Randle 6th at 3.21 , Lovatt 8th at 3.34 , Tanner 16th at 7-24
TEAM ; 2nd at 3.47
6 ; KENMARE – MITCHELSTOWN 89 Mile
|If stage 4 was the day it went wrong , today was the|
day the riders produced one of the finest displays of team riding ever seen at the
Ras. At 20 miles the stage hit the tough category 1 climb Inchee Mountain. An initial
attack by Julian Winn was joined by Randle and Tanner with Lovatt following close
At the top of the mountain an 8 man break had formed with around 30 second gap. Winn
and the Pro Vision trio had a gap on all the main contenders and were quick to take
their chance. The riders began the 70 mile ride to the finish and soon the gap began
to rise, after 30 mile 1 minute , 50 mile 2.30 , 70 mile 4 minute, putting Winn the
race leader on the road and Randle and Lovatt 2nd and 3rd .Surviving a puncture by
Randle the riders crossed the line with a 4 minute gap on the bunch .
In what was the highlight of the entire race the riders rode with true panache and
style. In stark contrast to the bold do or die riding styles of Winn and the Pro
Vision team was the leech like race long performance of Irish rider and eventual
stage winner David Mcann , always with an excuse not to ride. His inability to work
prompted the rumour that he was under investigation from the DHSS ("I cant work
theyíll stop my dole").
STAGE ; 3rd Lovatt , 4th Tanner , 6 th Randle all at 6 sec
GC ; Winn 1st , Randle 2nd at 1.20 m Lovatt 3rd ar 1.33 , Tanner 10th at 5.23
TEAM ; 1st by 9.25
7 ; MITCHELSTOWN – ENISCORTHY
|The teams task was now clearly to protect the 2nd and|
3rd overall and also try to dislodge Julian Winn from the top spot .
The Irish rider David O Loughlin established an 7 man early break, including Tommy
Evans and John Tanner . O Loughlin was riding to win back his yellow jersey and
his bold move almost succeeded as the break gained 3 minutes making him leader on
the road .
With the Welsh team driving the bunch , and the Pro Vision placings of 2nd and 3rds
under threat, Randle and Lovatt joined the chase, rapidly bringing the gap down to
As the gap fell so the lead group splintered. First to attack was Ray Clarke who
established a 30 second lead, Tanner saw his chance and after a long chase finally
got across to Clarke .
Meanwhile the brave effort of O Loughlin ended when the bunch caught the remainder
of the break with 5k to go. This left Tanner and Clarke and a third Scottish rider
clear of the bunch. At 4k they had 20 seconds , 3k 15 seconds , 2k 10 seconds .
With Tanner being left to do all the work it looked like the bunch would catch them
but the bunch eased slightly leaving Tanner to take the uphill sprint easily from
his two breakaway rivals .
STAGE ; 1st Tanner , 12th Randle at 10 sec , 21st Lovatt at 10 sec
GC ; 2nd Randle 1-20 , 3rd Lovatt 1.33 , 10th Tanner 5.13
TEAM ; 1st by 9.35
8 ; ENISCORTHY ó TULLOW
|This was the last chance the riders would have to take|
the yellow jersey from Julian Winn. With three first cat climbs including the brutal
Wicklow gap the Pro Vision riders were eyeing the yellow jersey .
The stage unfolded but for the first time the team were riding on dead legs. The
hard riding from the past three days had caught up with them. Rather than attacking
the yellow jersey the team found their 2nd and 3rd positions under heavy pressure
, most notably from David O Loughlin and Gethin Butler .
As the race topped the last climb of Wicklow gap the three Pro Vision riders were
being constantly attacked and decided to abandon hopes of yellow and ride hard to
the finish to protect their overall positions.
STAGE ; 7th Lovatt at 1.17, 11 Randle , 16 Tanner
GC 2nd Randle 1.24 m 3rd Lovatt 1.24 , 10th Tanner 5.04
TEAM ; 1st by 9.35
9 ; DUBLIN CITY CENTRE CRIT
|Stage won by Tommy Evans , everyone in the main field|
no change overall .
So thats it ; the story of how an unfashionable 3 man team of rivet riders took
on the cream of Ireland , 5 man teams from Scandinavia , Belgium , Scotland and
Final pro vision positions ;
Overall ; 2nd , 3rd , 10th
Points ; 3rd
Team ; 1st by 9.47
Stages ; 1st , 2nd , 2nd , 3rd , 3rd , 3rd ,5th , 5th