“I know what I’m up against but that doesn’t worry me”

Posted on: September 8th, 2015

National road race champion Lydia Boylan said her experience of the An Post Rás na mBán will be key in helping her get through this week and hopefully take some good results (Photo: Stephen McMahon – Sportsfile; homepage photo www.jimmymcelroy.com)



By Brian Canty

National road race champion Lydia Boylan, is starting her third An Post Rás na mBan tomorrow, Wednesday, but is unsure how her form will hold up against what is a very strong line-up.

The Team WNT rider has never won the race but on the back of some track camps with the national squad since her Irish title win in June as well as her experience to date in Rás na mBan, she feels she can still influence proceedings.

“I’m feeling really well, the track camp went great,” she said on the eve of the bigggest showdown of the year.

“I got a few endurance rides in to get myself ready so things are good and I’m really looking forward to getting going.”

The five-day, six-stage, race rolls out of Ennis tomorrow and takes the riders over 400 kilometres around county Clare, where Boylan believes experience will count for a lot.

“I know what I’m up against. I know the international riders from doing it twice before and I know the roads.

“The competition doesn’t worry me, it’s more the parcours as that always sorts it all out. So knowing when the race is on and knowing where to be is key.


Ciara Doogan is breaking through of late and had a great junior European road and track championships. Rás na mBan is a big step up for the teenager but she’s one to keep an eye out for. She riders for Denmark’s Team Rytger (Photo: Julien De Bock)


“I think riders coming from overseas have more experience of this style of racing and that’s why they tend to do well; they’re used to longer, harder racing.

“Sometimes the Irish riders aren’t as experienced in that sense, but from the nationals I saw they can play a part. Knowing the important (sections) is key.”

Since her national elite road title win in June, Boylan hasn’t done much racing as her main goal is the track season, including the European Championships next month in Switzerland.

“I haven’t really done any road racing since the nationals. I took a bit of a mental break.

“I haven’t road raced since then or stage raced in a while but physically, I know I’m strong.

“I’m conscious I have the (national champion’s) jersey so I’ll be making sure I get that visible as often as I can.

“I’d love to have the confidence to say I could go for a stage but if not me then I’ve a strong team and we’ll definitely attack the race.

“If nothing else it will be good preparation for the track.”


Eve McCrystal putting in some serious effort despite her strapped up leg last year on Rás na mBan; powering her way into the top 10 on the 8km stage 3 TT (Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan – Inpho)


In the absence of former stage winner and points classification victor from 12 months ago Fiona Meade as well as three-time winner Olivia Dillon there are still some very strong Irish riders.

Two capable of getting amongst it are Michelle Geoghegan (Team Steen Wear) and Eve McCrystal (Richie’s Garda CC).

The latter is a world champion silver medallist tandem pilot while Geoghegan has plenty experience of racing abroad, so they’ll be keen to show what they can do.

Three more we can’t wait to see this week are rising junior stars Emily Birchall (NRPT-Magnet.ie) and Ciara Doogan (Team Rytger) while Grace Young (Do Ronde Van Cork) has had a fabulous year, finishing runner-up in the Joe Daly Cycles National League.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that British Eurosport will broadcast a half-hour highlights package of this year’s race on September 25th.

For a full start-list click here