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Irish Women’s Pro Cycling: An Post Rás na mBan Round Up
By Staff
Date: 8/23/2012
Irish Women’s Pro Cycling: An Post Rás na mBan Round Up
A strong entry of 30 riders from British-based teams is gearing up for An Post Rás na mBan which starts in Sneem, Ireland on September 9th.

Olivia Dillon, our local rider and winner of the past two years will be absent as she prepares for the World Road Championships.

Aside from the UK, the An Post Rás na mBan expects riders and teams from Australia, Denmark, and Holland to race against the Irish National Team and various regional selections. The event features six states and complete list of all the routes can be found at An Post Rás na mBan Stage Route Details.

As Friday’s deadline for entry to the event approaches, the organisers have accepted entries from more than 80 riders from Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, The Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Sweden and Japan with by far the biggest travelling contingent from across the Irish Sea.

Welsh squad Abergavenny Road Club travel with a squad of five riders, two of whom rode last year’s race and their prominence on the British road scene with riders of the calibre of Laura Massey will make last year’s An Post Rás na mBan team classification winners a real force to be reckoned with.

The London-based Look Mum No Hands team made a big impression last year with a final stage win for former overall winner Louise Moriarty to go with the second place for Joanne McRae on the first stage. This year’s squad includes 2004 and 2008 Olympic rowing medallist Elise Sherwell, a formidable competitor on two wheels since she hung up her oars.

The Shutt VR Squadra Donne squad run by Jon Miles returns again with a five-woman line up including triathlete Karen Poole whose impressive cycling results this year include victories in England’s North Eastern Region Road race and Circuit Race championships.

England’s Molly Weaver, Beccy Hunt from Wales and Anna Christian from the Isle of Man make up the Scott Contessa Epic team which has made its mark on the British road scene in its first season and sends three riders of callow youth but no little talent for a first assault on An Post Rás na mBan.

With ten victories to her name this year, Karla Boddy brings an impressive record in regional competition to Ireland where she will head the three rider High Wycombe CC Race Team’s first attack on Rás na mBan.

The five-rider roster representing Geoffrey Butler Cycles includes up and coming junior star Adele Martin and Rás na mBan regulars Iona Sewell and Sarah Maidment.

The Scottish entry for Ireland’s top international stage race numbers four riders including Julie Erskine of Aberdeen CC whose first racing trip to Kerry comes on the back of a recent road race win in Glasgow to go with an array of other top results.

The riders face six stages in five days for over a total of 400km from September 9th to 13th. The event is based at top Ring of Kerry tourist destination Sneem Hotel. A complete list of participating teams will be announced in due course.

Sneem Hotel Backs County Rider Classification

An Post Rás na mBan organisers have confirmed that this year’s County Rider jersey will be branded by top Kerry holiday destination, Sneem Hotel.

The County Rider classification, fought out between the riders from Ireland’s vibrant women’s club racing scene, is amongst the most hard won in the five-day race based on the Ring of Kerry.

The competition has always been an integral part of the race to encourage participation by domestic riders and has been further extended this year to include prizes for best county rider overall, county team overall and top 3 county riders every day.

The County Rider classification has been won for the last three years by Melanie Späth who has emerged as an international prospect this season having take victory in the national road race championship in June.

Sneem Hotel proprietor Louis Moriarty is a long time supporter of Rás na mBan and since the race moved to a base at the four-star hotel in 2009 it has gone from strength to strength. The superb location coupled with four-star facilities was instrumental in its expansion to a five-day format in 2011

The hotel is a popular destination for cycle tourists with the luxury hotel accommodation supplemented by Golden Cove self catering apartments on the grounds for groups or those who prefer a home from home experience.

The hotel, which offers free bike hire for casual cyclists, has recently strengthened its association with cycling with the addition of an international BMX track in the grounds.

In announcing the sponsorship, race organiser Valerie Considine paid tribute to the ongoing support from Sneem Hotel and looks forward to another compelling battle for the distinctive blue County Rider jersey.

“Sneem Hotel’s support for this event has been invaluable in recent seasons and the venue makes a wonderful base for the event," said Considine.

“The County Rider award is always a highlight and the race within the race is often as closely fought, if not more so, than the battle for overall honours.”

An Post Gives Stamp of Approval to Rás na mBan

National postal operator An Post has confirmed sponsorship of Rás na mBan 2012, Ireland's top international stage race for women.

The five-day race running from September 9th to 13th next pits the cream of local racing talent against full time racers from the continent and beyond in a series of tough stages based on the Ring of Kerry.

An Post took over title sponsorship of the event last season as it expanded from three to five days, a move that drew widespread support from riders and officials.

Barney Whelan of An Post said "An Post is the leading supporter of Irish Cycling. An important element of this support is our sponsorship of An Post Rás na mBan 2012.

“International stage racing for women in Ireland is 26 years old this year and the event is growing in stature, attracting Irish talent and international riders to compete. Together with the Rás na mBan organisers we are putting Ireland and Irish riders on the map at international level while the event itself is a benefit to local businesses.”

Race Director Valerie Considine expressed her delight at the continuing support of An Post and looks forward to further expansion for Ireland's premier road racing event for women.

“An Post Rás na mBan is an event that has gone from strength to strength in recent years, thanks in no small part to the support of sponsors such as An Post.

“We're bringing in more teams and riders from abroad this year and the support from An Post will allow us to really focus on developing presentation and profile of the event.

“It's now a real challenge to ride as well as a real challenge to win and we're looking forward to further establishing the event as the premier stage race for women in these islands.”

The race will feature ascents of the fabled climbs of Healy Pass, Caha Pass, Coomaciste, Valentia Island and Molls Gap which have earned an important place in Irish racing folklore from previous appearances in Rás na mBan, An Post Rás and the Nissan Classic events of the 1980s.

The race enjoys the four star luxury of a base at Sneem Hotel in the heart of the Ring of Kerry. Sneem Hotel proprietor and former Kerry Rás Tailteann team member Louis Moriarty has played a key role in the promotion of the event as joint Race Director for several years.

Moriarty believes the topography in his native county offers a unique challenge in women's stage racing.

"Kerry roads are tough and demanding and always produce a great winner," says Moriarty. "Last year's stage over Healy Pass was one of the epic days in Irish stage racing and Olivia Dillon's performance that day will live long in the memory.

"I'm pleased to say we've got more of the same this year and one or two new challenges which will be very worthy additions to the race route.

The race also enjoys ongoing support from the Irish Veteran Cyclists Association which has provided vital financial backing since the race's inception.

Race entries have already been received from as far Australia and the U.S. along with increased interest from the UK and mainland Europe.

2011 Olivia Dillon, Ireland
2010 Olivia Dillon, Ireland
2009 Emma Trott, England
2008 Louise Moriarty, Ireland
2007 Marit Huisman, Netherlands
2006 Stephenie Gronow, Germany
2005 Elisabeth Braam, Netherlands
2004 Louise Moriarty, Ireland
2003 Angela Hunter, England
2002 Esther van der Helm, Netherlands
2001 Esther van der Helm, Netherlands
2000 Julie Hooper, England
1999 Louise Jones, England
1998 Claire Moore, Ireland
1997 Susan O’Mara, Ireland
1996 Angela Hunter, England
1995 Helena Kinsella, Ireland
1994 Marie Purvis, Isle of Man
1993 Claire Moore, Ireland
1992 Claire Moore, Ireland
1990 Kim Staff, England
1989 Patricia Anderson, Ireland
1988 Claire Moore, Ireland
1987 Fiona Madden, Ireland
1986 Marie O’Donoghue, Ireland

For further information about the race, please visit Rás na mBan, Ireland’s premier women’s cycling event.


5-day route details announced for An Post Rás na mBan

Ireland’s premier women’s stage race Rás na mBan expands

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