Gullen rides to biggest win of career in Ireland

James Gullen celebrates winning the An Post Ras. 
Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
James Gullen celebrates winning the An Post Ras. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
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Lancaster rider James Gullen picked up the biggest win of his career as he took victory in Irish stage race An Post Rás.

Lancaster rider James Gullen picked up the biggest win of his career as he took victory in Irish stage race An Post Rás.

The JLT Condor man came top of the general classification having secured the yellow jersey on stage five and kept it until the eighth and final day in Skerries thanks to a number of consistent performances.

“It’s brilliant to win a race like this,” said Gullen.

“You really have to rely on your team mates to get the overall win.

“They kept me going so this win is all down to them.

“Last year I won a stage and was ninth on the GC so I wanted to improve on that.

“Being in JLT where we’ve got such a strong team I came here as a support or back-up option if Ian Bibby had any problems.

“He did and I had to rise to the challenge and it worked out well.”

Gullen didn’t need to take a stage win to take victory, stage five proving crucial.

An Post Ras winner James Gullen in action during the eighth and final stage in Skerries. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

An Post Ras winner James Gullen in action during the eighth and final stage in Skerries. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

He and teammate Ed Laverack broke away with 100km to go on the lumpy stage that raced through County Donegal.

The former Pedal Heaven rider finished the stage several minutes ahead of the chasing peloton in fourth which gave him a one minute lead over his closest rival.

Gullen and his teammates — Ian Bibby, Ed Laverack, Robert McCarthy, Tom Moses — were determined to defend the yellow jersey and spent the next three days racing at the front of the peloton carefully watching breakaway moves and policing the bunch

In the end, the Lancaster rider took the win by one minute and five seconds from Ike Groen, also holding off multiple-time World Champion Cameron Meyer of Australia to take the win in the 65th edition of 1,200km race, the first British rider to do so since Simon Richardson of Rapha Condor in 2009.

It was the second time this year Gullen has held the yellow leader’s jersey in a UCI stage race.

In March he won stage two of the Tour de Taiwan, though crashes forced to give up the lead.