Bruising Rás na mBan opening stage sees big gaps already

Posted on: September 8th, 2016

Rikke Lønne was a comfortable winner of the opening stage of the An Post Rás na mBan yesterday, the Team Crescent Dare rider crossing the line in Kilkenny some 30 seconds clear of Dutch rider Eva Van Der Born (GB Cycles) and Scotland’s Eileen Roe of WNT (Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan)  


By Brian Canty

Rikke Lønne (Team Crescent Dare) has thrown down to gauntlet to her challengers on the opening day of the An Post Rás na mBan after storming to a solo victory in last night’s opening stage in Kilkenny.

The former Danish national time-trial champion came across the line 30 seconds clear of a bunch of 77 riders and she takes the first pink jersey of this year’s race.

Lønne broke clear of the field with 11 kilometres to go in the 62-kilometre stage and pulled out a gap of 30 seconds on her own, despite a concerted chase from behind.

She had around 40 seconds at most but with those behind winding up for the sprint on the approach to the line the gap was trimmed down slightly, though it’s still a decent buffer going into stage two.


The bunch intact early in the stage, but splits would emerge later in the race after a tough opener in Kilkenny (Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan)


Dutch rider Eva Van Der Born (GB Cycles) was second across the line, just ahead of Scotland’s Eileen Roe (WNT) with South African Hazel Magill (CCN Energy Australia) fourth.

Best of the Irish was Grace Young (De Ronde Van Cork) who took an excellent 10th place and that was enough to see her take to the podium after the stage and claim the Kilkenny County Council Best Irish rider jersey.

Marieke Kerkvliet (WV Breda LT) ended the day in the Wicklow 200 Queen of the mountains jersey after being first to crest the only climb of the day at Graiguenamanagh.

That climb split the bunch and those who missed the split are today counting the cost of it as they lost over two minutes – and some riders losing even more than that.

Lønne also leads the NDC points classification.

Today’s second stage is a hilly 75 kilometre trek starting and finishing at the Discover Park in Castlecomer.


Lydia Boylan in her national champion’s kit; one of a number of really strong Irish riders looking for results (Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan)