Max Stedman, Louis Rose-Davies and Rory Townsend kept their Rás Tailteann bid rolling on an action-packed sixth stage into Carlow on Friday.
Stedman and Rose-Davies finished in the front group to maintain their general classification potential, while Townsend finished the 155km dash from Mitchelstown a few minutes later.
However, their Canyon Eisberg team-mates Matt Nowell and Dexter Gardias abandoned the UCI 2.2 race earlier in the day.
Nowell’s poor fortune continued with his third crash in five days. However, the latest was the worst to date as it prompted assessment in an ambulance.
Reportedly okay, his race was over much like Gardias, who had climbed off as a result of illness minutes earlier.
The 27-year-old, who finished fifth on stage one, admitted defeat in his battle to ride on through a chest infection.
That left Stedman, Rose-Davies and Townsend, who is still recovering from a broken collarbone, to tackle the 155km stage into Carlow.
Once again, a series of attacks in the first hour came to nothing before six men escaped after 50km.
Mark Potts, Russell Downing, Andy Turner, Philip Lavery and Seán O’Malley kicked clear of the peloton.
And they were quickly joined by Jelly Belly’s Ulises Castillo and James Tillett, of the Wales Racing Academy.
While they built up a lead of more than three minutes, a small chase group developed in pursuit.
But they never made the junction and were reabsorbed on the day’s opening KOM – the category three Byrnesgrove – after 108km.
Castillo took the points ahead of Tillett at the summit, repeating the dose on the category three Castlecomer soon after.
Tillett was dropped on the category one Gorteen, while 50 seconds behind the peloton began to split.
After the final KOM and with 20km of racing remaining, Potts, Downing, Lavery, Turner, Ryan and Castillo held an advantage of 42 seconds.
Turner had been distanced when they charged into the final 10km and despite a determined bid for glory, the remaining five were swept up with 1km to go.
They made way for a frantic charge for the line, which was won by Holdsworth’s Sean McKenna, from Claudio Imhof, of the Swiss national squad, and the points jersey of Belgian Luuc Bugter.
The day’s five categorised climbs, back-loaded into the final 50km, were not as hard as expected and did not prompt a shake-up in the general classification.
Imhof’s team-mate Cyrille Thiery maintained his 10-second lead over Bugter, with Stedman and Rose-Davies still firmly in the mix at 35 seconds.
Meanwhile Castillo, who won all five KOMs on the stage, did enough to wrest the mountains jersey from the shoulders of a third Swiss rider, Lukas Ruegg.
Stage seven is expected to prove crucial in the general classification battle, with eight KOMs including the category one ascents of Drumgoff and Wicklow Gap.
The 141km stage from Carlow to Naas begins at 11am on Saturday morning. Click here for the full result from stage six (when confirmed).