So, with just two short weeks before An Post Rás na mBan 2015 commences, let’s take a look at where the threat to an Irish victory might be coming from…
A record-breaking ten UK teams will cross The Irish Sea to compete in Rás na mBan 2015, many no doubt tempted to travel by the newly introduced Best British Rider GC. Though, given the talents of some of their number, the UK contingent are likely to threaten the top of every classification.
Of the UK teams coming to the race for the first time this year, most decorated may be Team Giordana Triton. Their team captain for An Post Rás na mBan 2015, Nikki Juniper, has just won the British version of our Women’s National League, and she will bring a wealth of experience, a habit of winning, and two Bristish Olympic Development riders with her to Clare next month.
Having almost won the Mountains GC for her team at last year’s race, Scottish Road Race Champion Chloe Fraser comes to An Post Rás na mBan 2015 as a guest rider. Chloe will compete on Team GB Cycles, a familiar feature on the start list for Rás na mBan, and her teammates will include Irish rider Aoife Doherty.
Another team returning to Rás na mBan is Fusion RT, and their line-up includes the winner of this year’s Bedford 3-Day, Natalie Grinczer. The remaining four members of Fusion RT will also mean business, having all featured on UK podiums this season.
Ironically, perhaps the best hope for an overall victory from the GBR registered teams will come from Irish National Road Race Champion Lydia Boylan. Lydia will lead Team WNT around the roads of County Clare, and amongst her team-mates she counts Belgian National Team member Pia de Quint, and British sprinter Jo Tindley.
While form is difficult to predict, and especially at this stage in the season, other British riders likely to feature at the pointy end of An Post Rás na mBan 2015 include: British Junior Olympic Academy member Grace Garner, who will ride with RST Racing Team, ….British Junior Road Championships medallist Henrietta Colborne, who rides with Team Jadan, …and then there is the multi-talented and much-decorated Eileen Roe, who will guest ride with Dutch squad WV Breda Manieu.nl.
So yes, while Eileen Roe may well be the best known name riding with the Dutch team WV Breda Manieu.nl, experience suggests that all five riders on this familiar Dutch squad will fight for stage wins and classification honours.
WV Breda Manieu.nl are one of three Dutch outfits who will travel to An Post Rás na mBan 2015. Energy HR composite team count German track champion Stephanie Pohl amongst their line up, which also includes Sarah-Jeanne Fraser the only Australian rider in the race.
The third Dutch squad is also a composite team, racing under the name ARC Ulysses /Hoorn /West Frisia and their line up includes two strong Under 23 riders, Pernilla van Rozelaar and Tessa Neefjes.
Team Rytger, the Danish squad, travel to An Post Rás na mBan for the fourth year in a row. Having won the race outright on their first visit in 2012 they have sought to repeat this feat each year since… and with Irish Junior Road and TT Champion, Ciara Doogan, guesting for them, this could be their year.
After a break last year, there will be once again be a Norway-based team at An Post Rás na mBan 2015. Team HBSS include two Swedish, one Dutch, and two Norwegian riders in their cosmopolitan line-up.
France will be represented by the Breizh Ladies Team, consisting of four Under 23 riders, and a team captain who only turned 23 this year…. while this team will fight for every classification, they must surely have their eyes firmly set on the Best Young Rider prize!
From across the big pond the lone US team due to compete at An Post Rás na mBan 2015 are Philadelphia-based QCW Breakaway Bikes. No doubt this team will feature in the mix, and their crit-riding experience must particularly favour them when it comes to Stage 5, the circuit race.
We’ll have the low-down on the domestic teams set to line up for An Post Rás na mBan 2015 soon!