Sometimes it is the best way to defend, when you attack. But in cycling you don’t want to put your cards too early on the table and attacking the others brings bears also many risks. But sometimes you get forced to do it by the action of your competitors and you can forget all your plans that you made before.
On today’s penultimate stage of An Post Rás in Ireland, the plan was actually to stay together with the other favorites for the GC and to have a showdown at the last climb of the day – ranked in category 1. But before the first climb there was a break going with the biggest competitor for Niko in the KOM classification and he had to react immediately. So he made his way to the break before the first climb and from there on Niko showed an incredible performance. Winning all KOM’s until the last climb and when his fellows started to fatigue, he took his way alone. He literally put all his cards on the table and now forced the others to react.
Unfortunately the Australian National team had different plans and put all effort to chase Niko down and fight for the GC themselves. In the middle of the cat 1 climb, the Aussies closed the gap with only 5 guys together and an incredible speed. Of course it is the most difficult moment when you get caught in the middle of a climb having already many kilometers of break in the legs.
Despite all efforts and incredible fight, Nikodemus Holler could not follow the Aussies anymore and took his own rhythm. After the decent he fought with another group to come back but when they arrived to the finish they missed by only 56 seconds. Niko finished on 13th place, but made again his way to the podium to receive “his” mountains jersey.
On tomorrow’s last stage he needs just one more point to take this beautiful jersey home and also to finalize a superb week of great racing in Ireland!
Fingers crossed, and never forget the GC