Pedal power: Danish woman wins Rás na mBan in Kerry


FIVE DAYS of women’s cycling – the international Rás na mBan – came to a close on the Ring of Kerry yesterday, with a Danish woman ordained the overall winner, an English woman stage winner and a Cork woman taking the title of county rider.

Sponsored largely by An Post, this is Ireland’s only women’s international stage race and it is now in its 26th year.

Yesterday’s tough stage of just under 60km involved the high climb, in brilliant sunshine, over Moll’s Gap and downhill to Sneem. It was won by English woman Karla Boddy.

Fiona Meade from Cork was sixth overall and took the Sneem Hotel county rider title. Denmark’s Kamilla Vallin was the overall winner, and Denmark were team winners also.

The route along the Ring of Kerry this year took in 400km of racing over five days and six stages.

Participants travelled from Japan, Australia, the Nordic countries, Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Kerry has a long history on the world cycling stage – but mainly involving male cyclists. One, Joseph Patrick White (81) – who in 1954 became the first man in the world to cycle 100 miles in under four hours – was on hand at a gala awards ceremony in Sneem last night.

Originally from Castlecove on the Ring of Kerry, he joined the Air Corps in 1948 and took to cycling, winning several road racing and other titles.