Fuelled by KMC: Team Wheelbase at Rás Tailteann - Kendal Mint Co®

Fuelled by KMC: Team Wheelbase at Rás Tailteann


The Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli road team jumped on a ferry and headed to Ireland to take part in probably their most challenging race to date. The iconic Rás Tailteann 5 stage race always attracts an international field of riders and boasts a who's who of previous winners that have gone on to racing success at the highest level of professional road racing around the globe. The team went into the Rás hoping to gain useful stage racing experience on the exposed roads of Ireland, what the they came home with was so much more than anyone could have hoped for!...

 Stage 1

Stage One of the Rás Tailteann started off fast from the gun, with attack after attack sprinting off the front of the bunch; despite rider's best efforts nothing was getting away. Unfortunately there was a crash about 30km into the stage with a few of the Wheelbase team getting caught up behind it, but thankfully everyone recovered quickly and got back on.

Eventually a successful move went with 20 riders in it including Wheelbase team riders Tom Martin and Jacob Smith; the group worked well together, establishing a 3 minute 45 second buffer to the chasing bunch. As the stage's main Cat 1 climb approached the group of 20 started to split with 4 riders managing to break away on this gruelling climb. Tom Martin and Jacob Smith rode strongly to pull it back but eventually those 4 riders managed to stay away until the finish line; Tom and Jacob rolled in within the reduced chasing group behind while Tom Armstrong, Matt Fox and Lee Rosie finished stage 1 safely in the main pack. 

 Stage 2


Stage 2 of the Rás was a rapid one right from the start with speeds averaging over 45km/h. Just like stage 1 there was constant attacking as teams and riders attempted to control the race and establish a winning break away. All of the Wheelbase boys got stuck in and worked really well as a cohesive unit to cover all of the dangerous moves. This would be the status quo for the majority of the stage before the race encountered 4 categorised climbs with around 50km to go. All 5 of the Wheelbase team made it over in the front group while other riders finally succumbed to the pace and drifted out the back of the bunch.

Coming into the final 5km of the stage everyone in the team got together and organised a sprint lead out for their punchy Australian sprinter Matt Fox, delivering him to the front of the race with just 300m to go. In an incredibly tight sprint with riders spread right across the road Matt was able to come around on the barriers to take the win on the line! Speaking after the stage Matt was clearly over the moon with his result and quickly paid tribute to his teammates who worked selflessly to position him exactly where he needed to be to take the win. Thanking the hard-working individuals behind the scenes and the team's generous sponsors Matt was already re-focusing on the remaining 3 stages; with Tom Martin and Jacob Smith in the running for the GC lead the whole team were ready to give it their all.

 Stage 3


Stage 3 proved to be a stressful one for the bunch, with crosswinds on the exposed Irish roads contributing to a nervous mood in the peloton. Just as in previous stages there were numerous attacks as the ambitions of some of the most dominant teams bubbled to the surface. Despite their best efforts no one was able to establish a break with small groups of riders being reeled back into the bunch each and every time. Inevitably the race was eventually affected by a series of small crashes, however Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli successfully navigated their way through them as they came to the realisation that Stage 3 would also come down to a bunch sprint.

The team quickly got themselves organised to give previous stage winner Matt Fox another brilliant lead out; positioned just where he needed to be and with a new-found confidence following his win the previous day Matt would take his second successive win! The whole team was buzzing after the stage and news of Matt's win quickly spread between team staff, sponsors and Wheelbase HQ back in the Lake District, where we all celebrated the team's amazing performance at this important international road race.

 Stage 4

Stage 4 of the Rás was the longest day of the race at just under 180km. Following more unpredictable racing a break away group was formed and included Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli's flying Scotsman Lee Rosie. With Lee representing the team at the front of the race Wheelbase's remaining riders could sit tight in the main bunch, letting the overall race leader's team chase the break and keep a manageable time gap. Tom Martin and Jacob Smith marked any remaining moves from the bunch until the last 1km of the race when everything came back together as the remaining break away riders were caught.

At this point our fast-thinking team brought their super-fast sprinter Aussie Matt Fox up to the front of the chasing peloton for the final kick to the line. Continuing his impressive run of results Matt would take 3rd place over the line for another brilliant podium position which would also give him the overall points leader's green jersey!

 Stage 5

The 5th and final stage of the Rás consisted of 100km rolling roads followed by four 11km laps of a finishing circuit at BlackRock just outside Dublin. The team had some good cards to play with Tom Martin and Jacob Smith wanting to improve overall on the GC and the in-form Australian Matt Foxed poised and ready for another sprint finish with one eye on his defence of the point leader's green jersey. With this in mind Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli planned to follow all the moves and if they arrived at the finish line with the peloton all together they'd all commit to Matt for the sprint.

After the usual frantic fight for the breakaway the team ended up in the perfect position with Tom Martin, Lee Rosie and Matt Fox all in the breakaway of 13 riders, which also included eventual Rás winner Dillon Corkery from Cycling Ireland. Working well together the breakaway group established a lead of up to 3 minutes on the peloton and as they hit the finishing circuit the inevitable attacks came; with 3 Wheelbase riders in the break the team were able to use their numbers well.

Lee went with the early moves and when it came back together Tom and Matt were attentively covering any potential attacks. Eventually 5 riders broke free including Wheelbase's Matt Fox; Tom instinctively sat in with the rest of the group, attentive to any potential attempts to bridge across, but fortunately no one was strong enough to close the gap.

With Tom Martin also focused on protecting his high overall GC position he was able to attack and break free from the chasing group on the final circuit in an attempt to secure a top 3 place in the GC. Tom would miss the podium by a handful of seconds, however he would ultimately place a brilliant 5th place overall. At the front of the race Matt Fox sprinted to ANOTHER brilliant 3rd place, successfully securing the points leader's Green Jersey!

As the race came to a close and the podium ceremonies began it became clear that not only had Wheelbase secured the Green Jersey they'd also taken the overall International Team Prize as well as 5th, 10th and 13th overall in the GC.

The Rás Tailteann was a fantastic racing experience for our young team and we're incredibly impressed with how they performed in this iconic International stage race. None of what they achieved would have been possible without the ongoing generosity of the team's sponsors and the tireless work of the team's support staff. With Stu Reid injecting as much passion for road racing as he did when he was on the bike, he continues to be a fantastic tactician and guiding light behind the wheel of the team car. The riders really do owe him a lot! Likewise, massive thanks to Tim Martin who gave up his free time to travel with the team, providing endless hours of logistical support to help the team perform so well throughout the race.

Last, but most definitely not least a HUGE thank you to Irishman Damien Faulkner who stepped in at short notice to provide mechanical assistance to the team for the duration of the Rás. His contribution to the team's success went much further than just keeping the bikes functioning, as his local knowledge, experience and connections within the Irish Road Racing scene proved to be invaluable throughout the 5 stage race. Thanks Damien!

Points Jersey – Matt Fox

Overall Team Prize

5th, 10th and 13th overall on GC

2x Stage Wins – Matt Fox

2x 3rd Place stage finishes – Matt Fox

4th Overall U23 Jacob Smith 

Credit Photos: @tobyphotoswatson  

 Team Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli is supported by:

Team - Wheelbase Cycles
Cabtech Bespoke Interiors
Kit - Castelli
Helmets - HJC
Socks - Spatz
Nutrition - Kendal Mint Co / KMC
he New Union Craft Pub


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Fuelled by KMC: Team Wheelbase at Rás Tailteann