Matt Nowell dragged himself off the Tarmac to sprint to 10th place in a crash-filled second stage of the Rás Tailteann on Monday.
The 21-year-old followed up his superb 14th in stage one as Robert John McCarthy clinched victory for the Irish national team in Tipperary.
Meanwhile, general classification hopeful Max Stedman gave a glimpse of his impressive form as he propelled himself up the mountains classification.
Canyon Eisberg’s return from the 148.7km test out of Athlone was a gladdening one after both Dexter Gardias and Nowell were caught up in crashes and Rory Townsend and Louis Rose-Davies suffered punctures.
Stedman and Gardias rolled in side-by-side in 32nd and 33rd respectively, Rose-Davies was 39th and Townsend 42nd. All within the main bunch.
Stage one winner Cyrille Thiery, from the Swiss national team, retained the leader’s jersey with Gardias remaining Canyon Eisberg’s best-placed rider in seventh at 16 seconds.
Meanwhile, Nowell has risen to third place in the young rider classification – just 22 seconds off top spot. He is 15th overall.
And Stedman is fourth in the mountains classification on nine points. Ruegg leads the way with 15.
Despite the heavy downpours which had rolled in to Ireland on Monday morning, stage two began at a fierce pace.
However, the peloton was still altogether as the race approached the category two Bike Park climb after 45.6km.
A number of riders hit the deck on the narrow, greasy roads before Lukas Ruegg, from the Swiss national team, took the points.
Daniel Coombe, of the Wales Racing Academy, crested the summit in second place, ahead of Delta Cycling’s Jason van Dalen.
A large group attempted to clip off after the climb but, once again, the race was back together at the halfway mark.
Stedman then delivered the first glimpse of his form in this year’s Rás by winning the Dolla KOM after 88km.
The 22-year-old, from Berkshire, beat Delta Cycling’s Rens Tulner and Ronan McLaughlin, from Westmeath Viner-Caremark, to the summit.
And he pushed on alongside Ruegg, Holdsworth’s Conn McDunphy and Jelly Belly’s Taylor Shelden between the Dolla and Silvermines climbs.
Ruegg took maximum points, this time from Stedman and McDunphy, before the race came back together again.
However, the day’s three KOMs had taken their toll and plenty of riders had been shaken out of the peloton with 40km remaining.
Fintan Ryan, of Cycling Leinster, then had a dig – with McLaughlin briefly keeping him company before sitting up.
Back in the bunch further crashes on the wet surface had seen Nowell and Gardias take tumbles.
It was a second of the day for Gardias, Townsend having punctured while pacing him back to the group from the first setback.
And while Nowell was a little shaken up after his fall, both men had chased back on before the finale.
With 25km to go, McDunphy bridged across to Ryan but the pair held no more than a 30-second advantage over the reduced bunch as the kilometres ticked down.
The duo finally admitted defeat with 5km to go and from there the contenders readied themselves for a thrilling dash for the line.
In a blistering charge into Tipperary, Belgian talent Robbe Ghys had a dig off the front but he was swept up with 500m to go and McCarthy sprinted to glory.
Click here for the full results. The 140.4km third stage runs from Tipperary to Listowel on Tuesday (from 11am). There are no intermediate sprints or KOMs.