Mel Spath takes the stage but Olivia Dillon takes An Post Rás na mBan lead
Ireland team-mate Olivia Dillon takes over race lead by virtue of better placing on stage one
Olivia Dillon: surged clear with seven kilometres remaining before Mel Spath made her move in yesterday’s stage two of the An Post Rás na mBan. Photograph: Inpho
Irish national road race champion Mel Spath won stage two of the An Post Rás na mBan yesterday, outprinting fellow Ireland team-mate Olivia Dillon to the line at the uphill finish at Carron.
Early on, Caroline Ryan (Team Ireland) jumped clear with Jennifer Letué (Trek Norway) and were then joined by Spath, Dillon and Jenny Fay (Bike-Aid.de), building a strong lead.
The latter three dropped Ryan and Letué after Corkscrew hill and built a lead of over four minutes on a bunch containing Wednesday evening’s stage one winner, British circuit race champion Hannah Barnes (DID Electrical team).
Dillon surged clear with seven kilometres remaining and while Fay couldn’t follow the move, Spath jumped across and combined with her team-mate to reach the finish together. Spath then beat her to the line, but Dillon took over the race lead by virtue of her better placing on stage one. “We were off the front for 60 kilometres and the roads very dead and very slippery. We were working really hard so you could say it was epic,” said Spath, who normally races with the American Tibco team. The duo are three minutes and two seconds clear of Fay heading into stage three, and know they are in a commanding position.
In other news Cycling Ireland confirmed yesterday Marcus Christie would join the Irish squad for the world championships in Italy later this month. Christie was third in the Port Talbot time trial at the weekend and will join Ryan Mullen in the under 23 time trial.
CI also confirmed Nicolas Roche (Saxo Tinkoff) had decided to ride the Elite time trial. Roche, Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp) and Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) had been named for the elite road race, and CI has stated that the fourth and final place will be announced next week.
Matt Brammeier, Sam Bennett and Philip Lavery are in the running for that.
The other riders who were previously confirmed are Eddie Dunbar, Dylan Foley and Mark Downey, who will do the junior road race. Downey will also do the time trial. Olivia Dillon and Mel Spath will compete in the women’s road race.
Friday - Sunday [started Wednesday] An Post Ras na mBan, Ennis.
Saturday: Veterans omnium championships, Sundrive Road.