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Clemens crowned King of the North

By Bronagh Kirk

Ed Clemens from Buckinghamshire is the final overall winner of the Tour of the North cycle race supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council.

The 22-year-old who races for the Spirit Bikes team finished safely in the 25-strong leading group at Craigantlet where Declan Mulholland (Asea Wheelworx) sprinted to his second stage win of the Tour.

Earlier in the 78-mile stage, an 11-man group established a lead of 2.5 minutes on the Killinchy circuit which was lapped four times. The riders in this breakaway were of no threat to the overall leaders.

Derek Finnegan (Keevan CC) won the first King of the Hills prime at Killinchy and Newry man Gareth McCullough took top points on laps two and three of the circuit.

This moved him up to joint leader on road with Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles). On the return to Newtownards the yellow jersey and his Spirit Bikes team-mates wound things up and the 11 leaders were caught at the foot of the Bradshaws Brae climb.

The peleton splintered in the last few miles but the powerful Mulholland took the win by two bike lengths from Glen Kinning (Kinning Cycles) and David Watson (North Down CC).

As this was a hilltop finish Kinning earned three more points for the mountains competition to emerge as the final winner in this classification. Clements' final time for the 257 miles was 10 hours, 15 minutes 39 seconds. Jake Hales was second 1 minute 28 seconds behind with defending champ David Watson (North Down CC) third at 1 minute 34 seconds and Mulholland fourth at 1 minute 36 seconds.

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