The final day of Rás na mBan 2023 is upon us with two stages left for the riders to battle through.
Kilkenny City hosts both stages, with the morning’s time trial stage a short affair requiring a powerful effort and a sharp eye for detail to ensure the most efficient lines through the corners to minimise unnecessary time loss and enter Stage 6, the Criterium Circuit Race, with every possible advantage.
The Time Trial
The Time Trial (TT) course may only be 2.5km in length, but it has the potential to decide the overall winner for Rás na mBan for 2023. Last year’s overall winner Kate Richardson sealed her overall general classification (GC) win with a .39 of second victory in the TT covering the course in 3:34:23, at a speed of 42kmph.
The 3:30-4minute effort will require maximum effort alongside total focus, with a number of tight turns along the route and a narrow path section included. Riders will be hoping the course remains dry to keep conditions on a level playing field as the result will likely come down to the wire for those at the top of the general classification table.
The key players remain largely the same as we head into tomorrow’s stages; with 12 riders between 13 seconds of each other, and 20 riders as close as 40 seconds back on GC. Rixt Hoogland is back in the Magenta heading into Stage 5 and will be familiar with the course having placed well in last years’ time trial on the same course. The Queen of the Mountains leader Manon de Boer is also one to watch in the morning stage, having closely followed Hoogland on the stage 5 results in 2022. Caoimhe O’Brien, Monica Greenwood, and Irish Time Trial National Champion for 2023 Kelly Murphy are all strong contenders for Stage 5.
The Criterium will get underway shortly afterward. Starting on the Parade outside the Castle gates, the route goes clockwise along Castle Road, Nuncio Road, Waterford Road, Patrick St and back past the castle gates. Stage 6 will be approximately an hour and fifteen minutes of fast high octane city centre racing to finally decide the champion of Rás na mBan 2023.
Last year the crowds were treated to an exhilarating hour of racing around the Kilkenny circuit, with a number of riders coming down throughout the race and a large bunch of almost 50 riders battling for the final stage win.
Ireland’s Mia Griffin has taken two stage wins out of four, and has previously been runner-up on the final stage Criterium. With a proven finish line kick, she is a definite threat to the rest of the peloton if the group stays together as she’ll be looking for a third stage win this year. Ellen McDermott of Team Boompods is a former Irish National Criterium Champion and one to watch for the stage having been on a Rás na mBan stage podium before, but not the top spot. Tiffany Keep, who wore the Magenta Jersey earlier this week, was noteably third in last year’s Criterium and it will be hard to imagine she has anything but big plans for tomorrow’s racing.
With the first four stages of this year’s race coming down to a bunch sprint, and last year’s Criterium also coming down to a bunch sprint, Stage 5’s time trial will likely be a key player in deciding who will take home Rás na mBan’s Magenta Jersey for 2023.
Tomorrow’s routes can be viewed at:
Head over to https://rasnamban.com/2023-results/ for the results so far!