Riders have assembled in Ennis ahead of the first stage of the 10th edition of An Post Rás na mBan this evening.

Ireland’s top international stage race for women has a record entry of 106 riders representing 24 teams for the opening 68km road race from Dromoland near Ennis back to the finish in Barefield. Today’s stage begins at 17.45.

Germany’s reigning world points champion Stephanie Pohl (South Netherlands), Scotland’s Eileen Roe (WV Breda Manieu.nl) and Julie Leth from Denmark guesting with Team Rytger are some of the stand out names from arguably the strongest field assembled in the history of the event.

The Irish challenge for a race won on four previous occasions by Irish riders is led by reigning national road race champion Dubliner Lydia Boylan riding with her English-based WNT squad and Eve McCrystal (Richie’s Garda CC), the national time trial championship runner-up from County Louth.

The six-stage, five-day race is based for a third successive year in County Clare and features six stages in five days for a total of just under 400km of racing.

The riders are racing for the An Post pink jersey of overall race winner while there are separate classifications for the National Dairy Council NDC Points Jersey, the Wicklow 200 Queen of the Mountains, Clare County Council Best Irish Rider and the Womenscycling.ie Young Rider jersey.

Regular live updates from each stage will be available on twitter @rasnamban.