Roe on winning in Kilkenny and her thoughts on Irish racing

Posted on: September 11th, 2016

Eileen Roe wins the final stage of An Post Rás na mBan and is hoping to ride the World Road Championships with Team GB. She gives us her thoughts on racing in Ireland (Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan)


By Shane Stokes

British circuit race champion Eileen Roe has is celebrating a perfect final day at the An Post Rás na mBan in Kilkenny, with the Scottish rider taking stage six and, with it, scooping the points jersey in the race.

She was part of a seven woman breakaway move which went clear after the day’s ascent, the steep Woodstock climb, and which opened a lead of over a minute.

Hard chasing behind reduced this somewhat but the septet still had 53 seconds in hand for the sprint.

“I went for a really long one,” she told stickybottle at the finish line. “I went from 500 metres out. I never meant to go that early.

“Luckily nobody else came past and it was a stage win, the same as last year. And the points as well.”

The day was a nervous one for the WNT team due to Lydia Boylan’s second place overall and the fact that she missed the winning move.

It meant that even though Roe and teammate Natalie Grinczer knew that a stage win was possible, they also had to play things wisely in terms of the general classification battle.

“Our team was in a bit of a sticky situation because we had Lydia in second place. She wasn’t really that far behind overall, time-wise,” Roe explained.

“Our DS was coming up to us telling us not to ride to make sure that Lydia didn’t lose that second place.

“Today was a win-all or a lose-all situation. So me and my teammate Natalie kind of sat in and let the others do the work. We were basically just riding for a sprint finish.”

Things worked out well; Boylan was in the chase group 53 seconds back and retained her runner-up slot overall.

“I won the points jersey and the stage and Lydia got second and we won the team prize. So we had a successful weekend,” she smiled.

Roe is 26 years of age and hails from Fife in Scotland. She has shown her ability multiple times in the past, including taking that final stage plus second overall last year and in netting the British criterium championships in 2014 and 2016.

She went into the An Post Rás na mBan aiming for a strong performance and showed fine consistency.

Third on stage one, she was second on day two and fifth on stage three.

Her time trial chances were foiled when her chain got tangled up prior to the start, causing her to be late beginning the test.

She aimed to bounce back in Saturday evening’s criterium in Kilkenny. That also didn’t go to plan.

“I was a bit gutted about last night with the crash, because I am British criterium champion and I would have liked to have had a good try for a win last night,” she said, talking about the cancellation of the race with a lap and a half to go.

“But obviously it was a good call by the organisers with the girls having to go to hospital.

“I was on the left hand side when the crash happened so I just managed it.

“Lydia came down, but luckily she just had to get stitches in her hand. That was it. So the team came away relatively unscathed.”

She heads back to Britain today and faces a wait to find out if she could be selected for the world road race championships in Qatar.

The race there is expected to finish in a sprint and Roe hopes to be given the nod.

Whatever happens there, her morale is high leaving Ireland.

“This is my second year. I love this race,” she enthused. “I was just saying it to another girl at the start, it is like a small community.

“You don’t really get that in other races, they are very big. This feels really friendly and the organisers are brilliant.

“It feels like they are your mates and they are there for you in that race to help you get the best result that you can.

“And all the girls are brilliant are here as well. I love coming to this race, hence why I came back for the second time.”