Four of the top six from last year’s An Post Rás na mBan are on the start list for this year’s event which begins in Kilkenny this coming Wednesday (7th).

Last year’s runner-up Eileen Roe will be bidding to go one better this year in the six stage, five-day race having found a last minute berth on the British UCI squad WNT.

The Scottish professional, a former British Circuit Race champion, won last year’s final stage into Ennis and finished just seven seconds down on Stephanie Pohl after five days of racing. For this year’s 11th edition of Ireland’s premier women’s stage race, Roe will ride alongside two of her biggest rivals in last year’s general classification on one of the record number of British teams heading to Kilkenny.

The rider entry is also a new record, with 121 riders representing 25 teams getting set to line up for the first 60km stage at 6pm on Wednesday evening.

England’s Natalie Grinczer produced a superb time trial victory last year which helped propel her to fourth overall and she returns in a crack WNT line up which is possibly the strongest in the race.

Alongside her is reigning Irish Road Race Champion Lydia Boylan, a previous runner up in An Post Rás na mBan who finished sixth with WNT last year.

Joining Roe and co is Emma Norsgaard Jorgensen (Team Rytger), the Danish National Road Race Champion who won the second stage of last year’s event on her way to an eventual third place finish and victory in the Young Rider Classification.

13 nations are represented in the list of 25 teams.  Erin Kinnealy will do battle with the CCN Energy HR Australia squad while Rás na mBan’s first African competitor is promising full-time racer Hazel Magill from South Africa guesting with the GB Cycles squad.

The four-team challenge from the Netherlands is, as always, formidable. Former stage winners Kirsten Peetom and Femke Van Kessel travel with the Maaslandster Nichelving CCN and WV Breda squads respectively. Regioteam Noord Holland 1 includes the returning Melissa van Neck while Ireland’s Lydia Gurley has found a berth at the Regio Team Noord-Holland 2 team.

For a second year Norway send the Bryne ck Ladies Elite squad including Andrea Terjesen and promising climber Tiril Hole Mohr and Scandinavia’s representation in Ireland is further boosted by the Team Crescent D.A.R.E. team from Sweden.

An Post Rás na mBan has been honoured with a visit from our Celtic cousins from Brittany over the past number of years and Gael le Bellec has once again assembled a blend of experience and youth with Cecilia le Bris and Gabrielle Rimasson set to animate the race action in traditional French style.

The local challenge is headed by Joe Daly’s National League Champion Claire McIlwaine who leads a strong Ulster line up including ace time trialist Eileen Burns and former national road race champion Heather Foley with squads from Scott Orwell Wheelers, TC Racing and De Ronde Van Cork also sending strong combinations to Kilkenny.

Action gets under way with the 60km first stage starting at Springhill Court Hotel at 6pm on Wednesday and the riders will have completed six stages and almost 400km of tough racing action by the time the race ends outside Kilkenny Castle next Sunday evening.

See here to access the start list as a pdf.

Team Rytger Regioteam Noord-Holland 2
1 Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen DEN 41 Pernilla van Rozelaar NED
2 Josefine Huitfeldt DEN 42 Marjolein Bakker NED
3 Ciara Doogan IRL 43 Nina Buijsman NED
4 Pernille Larsen Feldmann NOR 44 Alicja Verhagen NED
5 Amalie Lutro NOR 45 Lydia Gurley IRL
DS Brian Henriksen DS Ed van Rozelaar
Maaslandster Nicheliving CCN Fusion RT Fierlan
6 Amalie Winther Olsen DEN 46 Elizabeth Stedman GBR
7 Kylie Waterreus NED 47 Jenny Holden GBR
8 Kirsten Peetoom NED 48 Fiona Hunter-Johnson GBR
9 Maxime Roes BEL 49 Eleanor Campbell GBR
10 Sara Verhaest BEL 50 Jennifer Hudson GBR
DS Tjarco Cuppens DS Terence Williamson
WV Breda – Ladiesteam Starley Racing
11 Femke Van Kessel NED 51 Gabriella Nordin SWE
12 Laura Gorter NED 52 Sophie Black GBR
13 Marieke Kerkvliet NED 53 Eve Dixon GBR
14 Cleo Kortenhorst NED 54 Autumn Collins IRL
15 Sanne van Helmond NED 55 Sian Bottelley GBR
DS Ingrid Rouw DS Graham Pearce
Bryne ck Ladies Elite Backstedt Cycling
16 Andrea Terjesen NOR 56 Elynor Backstedt GBR
17 Tone Hatteland Lima NOR 57 Pfeiffer Georgi GBR
18 Karoline Røste Omdal NOR 58 Anna Docherty GBR
19 Lillian Løyning NOR 59 Isabel Ellis GBR
20 Stine Borgli NOR 60 Wilma Olausson SWE
DS Jone Terjesen DS Magnus Backstedt
CCN Energy HR Australia Racing Chance Foundation
21 Sarah Duffield AUS 61
22 Roos Hoogeboom NED 62 Tamsin Vicary GBR
23 Erin Kinnealy AUS 63 Kelly Murphy GBR
24 Angela Smith AUS 64 Charlotte Alston GBR
25 Hazel Magil RSA 65 Alisa Healy GBR
DS Sarah-Jeanne Fraser DS Heather Bamforth
Team Crescent D.A.R.E Team Torelli
26 Tilina Levin SWE 66 Mads Scott GBR
27 Emmy Andersson SWE 67 Alice Sharpe GBR
28 Selma Svarf SWE 68 Lauren Creamer IRL
29 Ida Erngren SWE 69 Lulu Bartlett GBR
30 Rikke Lønne DEN 70 Sophie Thackray GBR
DS Tina Levin DS Tony Orrell
31 Cecilia Le Bris FRA 71 Eileen Roe GBR
32 Fanny Le Huitouze FRA 72 Becca Carter GBR
33 Gabrielle Rimasson FRA 73 Lydia Boylan IRL
34 Margaux Cadol FRA 74 Rebecca Rimmington GBR
35 Marine Quiniou FRA 75 Natalie Grinczer GBR
DS Gael Le Bellec DS Graeme Herd
Regioteam Noord Holland 1 PMR @ Toachim House
36 Marianne van Leeuwen NED 76 Chloe Weller GBR
37 Melissa van Neck NED 77 Chanel Mason GBR
38 Mireille Vree NED 78 Alexis Barnes AUS
39 Kristine Kofman NED 79 Victoria Strila GBR
40 Joanne Groeneveldt NED 80
DS Ed van Rozelaar DS Chanel Mason
GB Cycling Ulster
81 Amy Good IRL 121 Claire McIlwaine IRL
82 Sarah Burke GBR 122 Eileen Burns IRL
83 Francesca Cutts GBR 123 Heather Foley IRL
84 Maxine Filby GBR 124 Katharine Smyth GBR
85 Eva van den Born NED 125 Claire O’Neill IRL
DS Brent Skinner DS Josh Murray
Cliff Pratt Racing
86 Grace Garner GBR
87 Stephanie Mottram GBR
88 Corinne Clark GBR
89 Jennifer George GBR
90 Alicia Speake GBR
DS Keith McRae
Team Jadan Weldtite
91 Rhona Callander GBR
92 Ellen McDermott GBR
93 Shauna McFadden GBR
94 Sarah Bradford GBR
95 Jenny Holl GBR
DS Victoria Hood
96 Sophie Enever GBR
97 Jennifer Batey GBR
98 Anna Weaver GBR
DS Jenn Batey
eliteVelo Kalas Sportswear CRT
101 Alice Staniford GBR
102 Hester Stembridge GBR
103 Jenny Powell GBR
104 Margriet  Kloppenburg DEN
105 Eryn Nolan IRL
Tom Staniford
Scott Orwell Wheelers
106 Michelle Geoghegan IRL
107 Beth Mc Cluskey IRL
108 Emily Brick IRL
109 Aideen Keenan IRL
110 Monica Marconi IRL
DS Eddie Lynch
TC Racing
111 Fiona Guihen IRL
112 Roisin Thomas IRL
113 Eimear Harrison IRL
114 Maura Claffey IRL
115 Rebecca Dobson IRL
DS Tom Clogher
DeRonde Van Cork
116 Grace Young IRL
117 Nessa Rochford IRL
118 Sinnead Oakes IRL
119 Emily Birchall IRL
120 Mairead Elliott IRL
DS Ciaran Moore