Southland cyclist Pieter Bulling finished on the podium for the under-23 category when the An Post Ras Tour of Ireland finished at Skerries, north of Dublin today.
Bulling, part of the BikeNZ-Pure Black Racing Under-23 team, finished third overall in the under-23 class after the eighth and final stage over 139kms of lumpy terrain to Skerries.
He finished in the peloton with a large bunch of 70 riders fighting out a sprint finish, won by last year’s overall champion Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post Sean Kelly). Frenchman Nicholas Baldo (Atlas Jakroo) finished in the bunch to become the winner of the 60th edition of the famous race.
Bulling got some excellent help from teammate Taylor Gunman who went with a chasing group to reel in the break by Irishman Sean Downey (An Post Sean Kelly) who was a potential threat to the under-23 hierarchy.
The lead stretched to two minutes over the first two climbs but as Gunman and the others dropped off, the peloton reeled them all in on the closing two laps of the 14km circuit at Skerries to ensure a sprint finish.
The best of the kiwis was Cameron Karwowski who featured in the sprint in 12th place with Bulling 22nd and Scott Creighton 50th but all with the same time as the winner, while Gunman finished 2m11sec down after his exertions.
There was little time to relax for the BikeNZ-PBR Under-23 endurance team, who packed to fly out to USA today where they will be based in Trexlertown in Pennsylvania for some further road and track racing and training.
Results, An Post Ras tour of Ireland, stage 8, 140km: Gediminas Bagdonas (LTU, An Post Sean Kelly) 3:15.56, 1; Sam Bennett (IRL, An Post Sean Kelly) same time, 2; Marcin Bialoblocki (POL, Britain Giordana Racing) same time, 3. Also New Zealanders: Cameron Karwowski same time, 12, Piet Bulling same time, 22; Scott Creighton same time, 50; Taylor Gunman at 2:11, 82.
Overall: Nicolas Baldo (FRA, Atlas Jakroo) 26:55.57, 1; Thomas Rostollan (FRA, Aix En Provence) at 13sec, 2; Martin Hunal (CZE, AC Sparta) at 17sec, 3. Also New Zealanders: Bulling at5:23, 25; Gunman at 12:07, 38; Creighton at 21:37, 50; Karwowski at 21:45, 51.
Under-23: Richard Handley (GBR, Rapha Condor Sharp) 26:56.15, 1; Lasse Hansen (DEN, Blue Water) at 4:18, 2; Bulling at 5:08, 3.