Fireworks expected as Rás na mBan reaches Mount Leinster

Posted on: September 9th, 2016


Rikke Lonne currently leads the An Post Rás na mBan by 30 seconds going into today’s crucial stage of the race. The former national champion of Denmark has looked really good so far but we will know a lot more this afternoon when the riders head for a summit finish on Mount Leinster. (Picture: Lorraine O’Sullivan)


By Brian Canty

Rikke Lonne preserved her 30-second lead at the head of the general classification following yesterday’s second stage of the An Post Rás na mBan.

The Team Crescent Dare rider crossed the line as part of the main peloton on the 75-kilometre trek, ensuring she lost no time to her challengers.

Lonne was 26th in a time of 1:57:11 while stage glory went to Melissa Van Neck after she edged promising young British rider Grace Garner in a bunch sprint.

Van Neck, riding for the Regio Team Noord Holland timed her acceleration to perfection to see off Garner and the remainder of the 50 or so riders who came to the line after a very lively stage.

The stage was marked by a strong headwind which prevented any attacks from sticking early on, despite a strong pace being set at the front on the way out of Castlecomer.

But the peloton started to lose numbers as they crested the first climb of the day at Ballyraggett after 27 kilometres.

That climb split the bunch up decisively when some 50 made it over the top and the remainder were in a battle to regain contact.

Marie Kervilet (WV-Breda Manieu.NL Ladies Team) enhanced her advantage at the top of the KOM classification when she took first place over the top of that first climb and fourth on the day’s other climb at Bilbao.

By this time, all significant attacks had been quelled and the group was a large one coming to Castlecomer for the finish.

With plenty riders sensing this was their best chance of a win the pace was savage coming to the line but using all her craft to engineer some space was Van Neck who held off the fast-finishing Garner by a bike length.

The latter did have some consolation, however, as she ended the day as leader of the NDC Points competition which she won 12 months ago.

She also leads the Young Rider Classification for the white jersey.

Best Irish Rider for the green Kilkenny County Council jersey moved onto the shoulders of Ciara Doogan, the Donegal youngster racing with team Rytger.

She is locked on time with erstwhile leader Grace Young (De Ronde Van Cork) and who secured the jersey on countback of stage finishing positions.

Lonne now leads a group of 52 riders 30 seconds in arrears led by Garner, with Scotswoman Eileen Roe (WNT) in third.

Leading Irishwoman is Lydia Boylan, the Nottingham-based full time rider who has moved into ninth position overall courtesy of her sixth place finish on the day.

Full results are available by clicking here.