An Post Rás na mBan organisers have confirmed that this year’s County Rider jersey will be branded by top Kerry holiday destination, Sneem Hotel.

The County Rider classification, fought out between the riders from Ireland’s vibrant women’s club racing scene, is amongst the most hard won in the five-day race based around the Ring of Kerry.

The competition has always been an integral part of the race to encourage participation by domestic riders and has been further extended this year to include prizes for best county rider overall, county team overall and top 3 county riders every day.

The County Rider classification has been won for the last three years by Melanie Späth who has emerged as an international prospect this season having taken victory in the Irish National Road Race Championship in June.

Sneem Hotel proprietor Louis Moriarty is a long time supporter of Rás na mBan and since the race moved to a base at the four-star hotel in 2009 it has gone from strength to strength. The superb location coupled with four-star facilities was instrumental in its expansion to a five-day format in 2011

The hotel is a popular destination for cycle tourists with the luxury hotel accommodation supplemented by Golden Cove self-catering apartments on the grounds for groups or those who prefer a home away from home experience.

The hotel, which offers free bike hire for casual cyclists, has recently strengthened its association with cycling with the addition of an international BMX track in the grounds.

In announcing the sponsorship, race organiser Valerie Considine paid tribute to the ongoing support from Sneem Hotel and looks forward to another compelling battle for the distinctive blue County Rider jersey.

“Sneem Hotel’s support for this event has been invaluable in recent seasons and the venue makes a wonderful base for the event. The County Rider award is always a highlight and the race within the race is often as closely fought, if not more so, than the battle for overall honours.”