Ireland name strong team for September’s Rás na mBan

Double national individual pursuit champion Kelly Murphy named among the four

Mia Griffin is part of the Ireland team for the Rás na mBan. Photograph:  Bryan Keane/Inpho

Mia Griffin is part of the Ireland team for the Rás na mBan. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Five strong Irish riders have been selected to represent the national team in the upcoming Rás na mBan, which will take place in and around Kilkenny from September 8th to 12th.

The trio of Mia Griffin, Alice Sharpe and Imogen Cotter had strong international competition in the Kreiz Brezh stage race in Brittany, France last month. They are joined by the double national individual pursuit champion Kelly Murphy, who broke her own national record twice en route to successfully defending her title on Saturday, as well as the current National Road Series leader Fiona Mangan.

The prestigious stage race will feature four road-race stages, a time-trial plus a circuit race taking place over five days in and around Kilkenny. It will be contested by international teams from the US and Europe, as well as the top women riders in Ireland.

The organisers announced on Monday that the Irish Veteran Cyclists’ Association will once again back the climber’s classification in the race. The competition to decide the best climber has been won in the past by a number of strong riders, including the Danish woman Amalie Dideriksen, who went on to win the 2016 world road-race championships, plus the successful Luxembourg pro rider Christine Majerus.

Meanwhile Oisín O’Callaghan went agonisingly close to defending his junior downhill title at the world mountainbike championships on Sunday, qualifying fastest of the international field but then crashing in the final.

His front wheel washed out when going from a dry to a wet section of the course, leaving him fifth in the high-quality field. Despite his fall he was just 6.218 seconds behind the winner Jackson Goldstone of Canada, who O’Callaghan had beaten by a clear 1.3 seconds in the qualification round. Jacob Dickson was best of the Irish in the senior final, placing 25th.

At home, Daire Feely (All Human-VeloRevolution) soloed to victory in the Connacht road-race championships in Sligo, with former world junior champion Mark Scanlon (Bottacchia Racing Club) making a welcome return to the sport and winning the sprint behind to take gold in the Masters 40 contest. Niall McLoughlin (Westport Covey Wheelers CC), who finished just behind Scanlon, was best of the junior riders. Heather Foley (Yeats Country Cycling Club) topped the women’s podium.

Jason Kenny beat Seán Mullen (Navan RC) and Aaron Rafferty (Bohermeen CC) in the Leinster road-race championships, taking gold in the A1 category. Mullen and Rafferty were second and third across the line but as they are A2 riders, they took gold and silver in that category.

Yvonne Doran (Orwell Wheelers) was best woman and Eoghan Cooke (Ounavarra CC) the top junior.

Rás na mBan 2021

Stage 1, September 8th: Kilkenny to Callan

Stage 2, September 9th: Kilkenny to Piltown

Stage 3, September 10th: Castlecomer to The Cut

Stage 4, September 11th: Tullaroan to Ballybay time-trial

Stage 5, September 11th: Kilkenny Criterium

Stage 6, September 12th: Kilkenny to Kilkenny Castle

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