Not only did Team Ireland manage to repeat the feat of 2022 with Lara Gillespie claiming the opening day stage but they did it with Kilkenny’s Mia Griffin taking victory on home soil.
Following a 74km first-stage win, Griffin will wear the Rás na mBan magenta jersey as overall leader for Thursday’s stage 2 event getting underway at midday.
In all, 98 riders made it to the starting line around 4.30pm for Wednesday’s opener and took in some of the western environs of Kilkenny before wrapping up in Callan around 6.30pm.
As can happen, the opening stage lost a number of riders following the Category 3 Curragawn climb due to a multi-rider pileup. Wednesday’s finish included two 13km laps between Callan and Dunnamaggin and with 200m to go turning onto Green Street it was Kilkenny’s Griffin holding the lead and crossing the finish line in first place to get her first-ever stage win for Rás na mBan.
“Rás na mBan has always been my favourite race, but in my career, I haven’t got a stage win here. I was close in 2021, so to get the stage win means a lot, and to do it in Kilkenny makes it even sweeter”, Griffin said following her stage win.
Thursday’s racing begins at 12pm from the Hoban Hotel in Kilkenny City with 101km to account for, heading on to Kells, Dunnamaggin, Thomastown, Inistioge, The Rower and Graiguenamanagh, back to Thomastown, Inistioge and finishing in The Rower between 2-3pm.