PRESS RELEASE.....NO REPRODUCTION FEE.... Ras na mBan 10/9/2023 Stage 6 Kilkenny Criterium Renee Vann HOut (2nd) Manon de Boer (1st), Tiffany Keep (3rd). On General classification Mandatory Credit ©Lorraine O’Sullivan

Rás na mBan round-up

After five days of racing in unusual – for Ireland – weather, the Rás na mBam finished with a individual time trial and a criterium.

Rás na mBan (pronounced “Raws na mon” – literally “women’s race”) was established in 2006 and is Ireland’s only women’s international stage race. Last year, twenty-five teams of five riders representing sixteen different nations took to the start in Kilkenny. This year we’ve been following DAS-Handsling as they tackle Rás na mBan.

After stage three’s excellent result for Emma Jeffers and Monica Greenwood, how would the team fare in the following stages?

Emma Jeffers gets her hands in the air on stage three of the Rás na mBan
Emma Jeffers gets her hands in the air on stage three of the Rás na mBan

Before the final day’s split stage, let’s take a look at the previous day’s stage. Stage four had the riders tackling a 102.7km stage and would be the last chance to gain QoM points. The climbs were Kilmagemogue, Rathinure Hill and Annestown, these presented the last chance to break Manon de Boer’s lead.

Before the first climb of the day there was a large crash in the middle of the bunch. Around a dozen riders were brought down and the bunch was split. The front group contained around twenty-five riders and included all the GC and jersey contenders. Another group of equal size formed behind and they began to chase hard to re-join the leaders. However only three riders would re-gain the front group.

In the IVCA Wicklow 200 Queen of the Mountains classification, Manon de Boer continued her impressive run. She lead over the top of the Category 2 ascent of Kilmagemogue, gaining another nine points. This put the jersey out of the reach of her nearest challenger, Linda Kelly. Kelly however put up a strong fight, scoring maximum points on the final two climbs, but it wasn’t to be.

Das-Handsling’s Monica Greenwood is third on stage four

The front group stayed away to contest the finish, that early crash having a big effect on the outcome. Team Ireland’s Mia Griffin took her second stage, after being guided home by team mates and sisters Caoimhe and Aoife O’Brien. QoM jersey holder De Boer came in second with Monica Greenwood of DAS-Handsling taking third.

Stage five Time Trial

The final day of the Rás na mBan was a split stage, with a morning TT and an afternoon criterium. The short TT course was only 2.5km, but was technical. It included a number of tight turns along the route and a narrow path section: a test for the rider’s handling.

Manon De Boer of NWVG-uplus won the stage and clinched the overall in dramatic fashion with her time of 3’31”. Her average speed of 42.49km/h around Kilkenny Castle put her 2.38 seconds ahead of Team Noord Holland’s Renée van Hout, with Stage 2 winner Tiffany Keep third at 2.40 seconds. DAS-Handsling’s Monica Greenwood was 6th at 3’37″14, moving her up one place to 7th in the GC.

Stage six criterium

Manon De Boer fought off a series of attacks in the final criterium to take the overall and the QoM jersey in this year’s Rás na mBan. With three riders within three seconds of her lead, De Boer would have to be attentive. The race started aggressively with a flurry of attacks. Fortunately De Boer was aided by the fact that many teams wanted to keep the race together for their sprinters.

Pauline Koster (Nord Holland team) wins stage six ©Lorraine O’Sullivan

With five laps to go one of those riders – Best Young Rider Renée van Hout – launched an attack. However De Boer was attentive to this and the attack was nullified. Approaching the final drag to the line, it was Paulien Koster who claimed the stage ahead of Irish duo Caoimhe O’Brien and Ellen McDermott.

DAS-Handsling had a good race, winning a stage, featuring on the podium twice, holding the Young Rider jersey and coming second in the Team classification. Keep an eye out for more reports on the team’s next races. If you want to emulate the team you can buy a DAS-Handsling jersey from the Handsling shop. Or go one better and ride the Handsling A1R0evo, just like them!

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