Three Time Champion Returns to Defend Title

Reigning champion Olivia Dillon has been named on a strong Ireland squad for this year’s An Post Rás na mBan.

The Kiltimagh, Co Mayo native heads a team with a blend of youth and experience with one rider making her debut in the event and three of the five riders based abroad.

Dillon, who races full time in the US with the Colavita squad returns to the race that she won in 2010 and 2011 as well as last year’s first running of the race in County Clare.

Having missed the 2012 edition, Dillon defends an unbeaten record in a race that she considers a vital part of her racing season.

“Cycling Ireland have put together a really good team and I’ve always enjoyed racing Rás na mBan. It’s always been one of the highlights of my year,” she said from her home in California this week.

“The quality of the rider and the overall organisation has really improved in recent years. It’s really well put together, professionally done and well organised.”

Dillon will be joined on the start line for stage one on September 10th by Irish based riders Anne Dalton and Eve McCrystal, and by Mary Costelloe and Lauren Creamer who race week to week with British teams.

Creamer, the national Time Trial silver medallist in June, brings a wealth of road racing experience and has tuned her form with a selected programme of UCI racing this year with the Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International squad.

Meanwhile Costelloe is set to make her debut in An Post Rás na mBan 12 months later than planned. The former world junior track medallist, who races with Wyndymilla in the UK, was slated to make her senior road race debut for Ireland in last year’s An Post Rás na mBan but a crash injury forced her to withdraw before the event.

Dalton, a powerhouse on the local racing scene with the DID squad has raced twice with the Ireland team at Rás na mBan and the 2013 National League champion is renowned as one of the strongest team riders in Irish road racing.

McCrystal has made a big impact on the Irish racing scene since switching from triathlon and the Richie’s Garda CC rider has starred internationally in the past two seasons as the stoker on Katie George Dunleavy’s paracycling tandem.

The team will be managed by former Rás na mBan rider and Cycling Ireland Women’s Commission committee member Margaret Donnelly.