Marieke Kerkvliet (WV Breda) scored a comfortable victory in the stage four Honda time trial on the Waterford Road in Kilkenny as overall race leader Rikke Lønne (Team Crescent DARE) tightened her grip on the An Post leader’s jersey.

Kerkvliet was the only rider to record a sub 16-minute time on the out and back 11km solo test, finishing 14 seconds clear of fellow Dutchwoman Nina Buijsman (Regio Team Noord Holland 2).

There was a similar margin between second and third with last year’s stage four time trial winner Natalie Grinczer (Team WNT) taking the final spot on the podium sixteen seconds further back.

Overall race leader Lønne, a former Danish time trial champion, shook the lactic acid from her legs after her race long breakaway success in stage three to record eighth fastest time.

With second placed Lydia Boylan (Team WNT) 32 seconds further back and third placed Erin Kinnealy (CCN Energy HR Australia) 30 seconds in arrears, Lønne has increased her advantage at the top of the standings to 3m15s over Boylan and 4m23s over Kinnealy.

Lønne also controls the lead of the NDC Points Classification and the Wicklow 200 Queen of the Mountains competitions.

Meanwhile Buijsman’s second place on the stage has propelled her into the lead of the Young Rider competition with a 33 second lead over Pfeiffer Georgi (Backstedt Cycling)with Elynor Backstedt (Backstedt Cycling) a further seven seconds behind.

It’s all change in the Kilkenny County Council Best Irish Rider competition where Claire McIlwaine now has a healthy 2m37s lead over Team Ulster team-mate Katharine Smyth.

This evening’s fifth and penultimate stage is a one-hour city centre criterium in Kilkenny City Centre, starting and finishing in front of Kilkenny Castle at 6.30pm.

See full results  here