Mullingar born Damien Shaw won the first stage of the Tour du Loir et Cher (2.2) in France yesterday securing his first ever professional win and topping the general classification. It was a great day all round for the An Post Chain Reaction team with Polish sprinter Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz finishing in 14th place.
Yesterday’s victory has been a long time coming for Shaw. The 32-year-old is coming off the back of a frustrating start to the season after suffering broken ribs and a broken wrist which left him on the sidelines for the early part of the year.
Shaw was part of the break of the day which comprised of six other riders including Joey Van Rhee (Destil-Jo Piels Cycling Team), René Hooghiemster (Baby-Dump Cycling Team), Nicklas Pedersen (Team Giant-Castelli), Joshua Huppertz (Team Lotto-Kern Haus), Bram Nolten (Monkey Town Continental Team) and Thomas Rostollan (Armée de Terre).
The breakaway worked well together staying away from the chasing peloton and with one kilometre to go, 2012 An Post Rás stage winner Rostollan attacked out front but was immediately countered by Shaw who overtook him to cross the line.
An Post team manager, Kurt Bogaerts spoke of his delight at Shaw’s victory:
“This is a massive win for Damien. It really is a terrific reflection of the hard work that he has put in over the last couple of months. It was a great team effort and I think Damien will take a lot from the win. It’s his first professional victory and I’m sure it will be the first of many.”
The Tour du Loir et Cher will continue over the course of the Easter weekend which takes place through the Loir-et-Cher region of France. Stage two tomorrow travels 184 kilometres between La Ferte Imbault and Vernou en Sologne.
An Post Chain Reaction Team at the Tour du Loir et Cher:
Jonas Bokeloh (GER)
Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (POL)
Sean McKenna (IRL)
Jacob Scott (GBR)
Damien Shaw (IRL)
Conor Hennebry (IRL)