With just under three weeks to go to An Post Rás na mBan 2013, more team selections have been revealed ahead of the biggest edition yet of Ireland’s premier women’s stage cycle race.
The Ulster Commission have named a strong five-rider selection including mountain bike star Ciara McManus and national Junior team member Hayley Priestley.
McManus returns to road racing in Rás na mBan, an event she has ridden on several occasions with an Ulster team that spans all levels of stage racing experience.
In contrast Hayley Priestley is embarking on her first Rás na mBan fresh from competing in the World Junior Track Championships in Glasgow.
Meanwhile Tonya Moran, a strong club rider with Black Rose Racing, has ridden Rás na mBan and is a consistent performer at National league level.
Janine McNally of North Down CC is embarking on her first five-day stage race after strong showings in National and Ulster League events.
Ballymena RC Chain Reaction Cycles rider Claire Gillespie is another strong competitor on the Ulster and national one-day racing scene who is looking forward to her first Rás na mBan.
The Ulster team travels to Clare with manager Conor Graham.
Meanwhile the Dublin-based Orwell Wheelers and Joe Daly’s Cycles squads have also been announced and both teams boast riders aiming for success in the County Rider Classification.
Former Masters World Track champion Orla Hendron leads the Orwell Wheelers team selected from one of the strongest cycling clubs in the country.
All but one of the team’s rider’s have ridden the race before, the exception being Irish World Junior Track team member Rachael Kaye Mellor.
Charlotte McDonald has ridden for Leinster in the past and will be looking to capitalise on strong form in the National League.
Monica Marconi is, along with Hendron, amongst the very strongest veteran riders in Irish racing and heads to Clare on the back of a recent solo win in Kilmessan.
Lucy Soden, a strong road rider, especially in time trials, completes the lineup for the Dublin squad which will be managed in Clare by Eddie Lynch.
The star turn for the Joe Daly’s Cycles squad is Lauren Creamer, a regular national team rider who is based in Birmingham.
Fresh from 8th in the recent Prudential Ride London Grand Prix, Creamer heads a team of strong riders but limited experience of long stage races.
Maria Mulvany rode Rás na mBan last year with the 3D Tri squad and with much more road racing miles in her legs this year is looking forward to capitalising on that experience.
Former 3D Tri team mate Karen Robinson, too, returns to the race where she cut her stage race teeth and is sure to benefit from a season racing with Richie’s Garda Cycling Team.
Mayowoman Noreen O’Toole is looking forward to her Rás na mBan debut, the Westport Covey Wheelers rider having produced a number of strong results in Connacht and on the national scene this season.
The final member of the squad, Sarah Dennedy of Dunboyne CC, will be making her stage race debut after a number of strong results on the Leinster women’s league scene this year.
The Joe Daly’s Team will be managed by Orwell Wheelers’ Brian McArdle.