Cycling round-up: Caoimhe O’Brien second on final stage of Rás na mBan as Manon de Boer wins overall

Former world champion Rui Costa wins stage 15 of the Vuelta a España

Caoimhe O’Brien went close to taking the third Irish stage win in five days on Sunday afternoon, netting second in the sprint at the end of Rás na mBan.

The Team Ireland rider finished to the fore in the concluding Kilkenny criterium, placing second behind Paulien Koster (Team Noord Holland) in the sprint to the line. Another Irish rider Ellen McDermott (Team Boompods) took third ahead of the Briton Emma Jeffers (DAS-handsling).

Sunday’s final day of racing proved crucial to the overall classification. Dutchwoman Manon de Boer (NWVG-Uplus) seized the race lead when she won the morning 2.5km time-trial around Kilkenny, jumping from fourth to first overall. Six riders had started the test on the same time, with Queen of the Mountains leader De Boer ending up the best of those.

She beat Renee Van Hout (Team Noord Holland) by 2.39 seconds, with Van Hout in turn 0.01 seconds faster than Tiffany Keep (Hutchinson-Brother UK).


Overnight leader Rixt Hoogland (NWVG-Uplus) was seventh in the race and slipped to fifth overall. O’Brien and Linda Kelly (Dan Morrissey Primor by Pissei) placed eighth and ninth, with Kelly’s time enough to keep her in sixth place in the general classification.

The afternoon criterium on the streets of Kilkenny was set to determine the final outcome. Stage one and stage four winner Mia Griffin (Ireland) crashed midway through the stage and faced a long chase back on, with AWOL team rider Kelly Murphy dropping back to help the rider who, like her, is part of the Ireland squad on the track.

Inside the final five laps the rider in second overall, Van Hout, launched two all-out attacks, trying to overcome her three-second deficit. However, she was unable to get a lasting gap, with Koster winning the final sprint to the line ahead of O’Brien and McDermott.

Kelly’s best Irish rider classification continues her fine form after scooping double gold in the Para-Cycling Road World Championships last month with tandem partner Katie-George Dunlevy. She was also second in the Queen of the Mountains standings behind De Boer.

UCD Cycling’s Maeve Gallagher was crowned best young Irish rider, and was part of the best Irish club team.

Meanwhile, Archie Ryan continued on the good form which saw him win a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir, riding strongly in the 1.12-ranked Eurode Omloop in the Netherlands. His Jumbo-Visma team-mate Tijmen Gratt attacked with three laps left and Ryan was the only one able to bridge across. They raced across the line side by side.

In Spain, former world champion Rui Costa (Intermarché-Wanty-Goubert) won stage 15 of the Vuelta a España from the breakaway, outsprinting Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) to the line in Lekunberri.

The general classification contenders kept their powder dry, with there being no change to the standings of the first 16 riders. American Sepp Kuss leads his Jumbo-Visma team-mates Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard by over a minute and a half heading into the race’s second rest day on Monday.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling