PLOWMAN Craven RT ace Simon Richardson won the fifth stage of the FBD Insurance Ras in Skibereen on Thursday.

Richardson was part of a four-rider break which included Kinesis UK rider Kit Gilham as well as Irish national champion David O?Loughlin.

A puncture in the closing stages ruled out O?Loughlin?s challenge, leaving Richardson to take victory.

Just nine kilometres into the day?s racing Richardson attacked with Patrick Kos (Netherlands), David O?Loughlin and Kit Gilham, and with the Irishman driving the break along at a blistering pace they quickly gained on the bunch, with the gap growing to almost three minutes as they rode out of Farranfore.

Eight riders sensed the danger in the leading group?s pace, and formed a chasing group which included Dean Downing (Rapha Condor-Recycling), Neil Coleman (Plowman Craven RT), Matt Cronshaw (Kinesis UK) and Andrew Roche (Isle of Man), and they were swelled soon after by two more riders, including Rob Partridge (Rapha Condor).

With McCann in yellow after his victory the previous day, the Irish were driving the bunch along in search with both Richardson and Gilham being serious threat?s to the yellow jersey, but there was to be no catching the leaders.

Also a contender for the King of the Mountains prize, Gilham was first over the line to bag maximum points at Ladies View and Moll?s Gap, as well as Turner?s Rock and Derrycreha.

With around 120 kilometres covered the pace proved too much for Kos and he dropped back to leave three riders at the front, but with 15 kilometres to go Richardson attacked and opened up a good 15 second lead, but O?Loughlin dug in and caught his rival, dropping Gilham to set up a two-rider sprint for glory.

But with five kilometres left the Irishman punctured, and although he was quickly onto a spare bike he could not catch Richardson, who took victory by a few seconds, while O?Loughlin was a disappointed second and leading in the bunch for third was Poland?s Mateusz Komar, with Gilham and Kos having been swallowed up by the bunch.

His climbing exploits mean that Gilham leads the King of the Mountains classification by eight points from Richardson, while Dean Downing is still leading the points category by four.

Ras Reaction: Simon Richardson on his breakthrough win

FBD INSURANCE RAS STAGE 5 RESULTS
Tralee to Skibereen
1. Simon Richardson (GB) Plowman Craven 141km in 3-35-01

2. David O?Loughlin (Ire) Pezula same time
3. Mateusz Komar (Pol) Poland at 1-41
4. Ciaran Power (Ire) Pezula
5. Rafal Ratajczyk (Pol) Poland
6. Ken Hanson (USA) Isle of Man
7. Morten Hegreberg (Nor) Sparebanken
8. Dean Downing (GB) Stena-Rapha-Condor-Recycling
9. Renaud Pioline (Fra) Provence Alpes
10. Ciaran Cassidy (Ire) Cycleways

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 5
1. David McCann (Ire) Ireland in 17-59-17

2. Chris Newton (GB) Stena-Rapha-Condor-Recycling same time
3. Roger Aiken (Ire) Ireland at 6sec
4. Rob Partridge (GB) Stena-Rapha-Condor-Recycling at 7sec
5. Alex Higham (GB) Plowman Craven at 9sec
6. Simon Richardson (GB) Plowman Craven at 54sec
7. Andrew Bye (GB) Surrey League at 56sec
8. Dean Downing (GB) Stena-Rapha-Condor-Recycling at 1-04
9. Stephen Gallagher (Ire) An Post at 1-05
10. Khormizi Razaeo (Iran) Iran at 1-07

POINTS COMPETITION
1. Dean Downing (GB) Stena-Rapha-Condor-Recycling

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS
1. Kit Gilham (GB) Kinesis 49pts
2. Simon Richardson (GB) Plowman Craven 41pts

UNDER-23 COMPETITION
1. Dale Appleby (GB) Stena-Rapha-Condor-Recycling

TEAMS CLASSIFICATION
1. Stena-Rapha-Condor-Recycling

RELATED LINKS
Ras Reaction: Simon Richardson on his breakthrough win
Stage four report: McCann wins, Newton punctures, yellow jersey Cassidy crashes out
Reaction: Chris Newton on his stage win
Stage three report: Newton takes the stage
Stage two report: Dean Downing beats Evan Oliphant at the finish
Stage one report: Isle of Man’s Hanson wins Ras first stage
2008 FBD Insurance Ras preview