Ireland’s Lara Gillespie sprinted to victory in the opening stage of Rás na mBan today, leading home a large bunch into Callan, County Kilkenny.
The Wicklow native held off challenges from Alba Development Team’s Kate Richardson and Cams-Basso’s Jessica Finney, who rounded out the podium in second and third respectively.
Gillespie’s win is the first for an Irish rider since Olivia Dillon’s success in 2014, and also means she’ll wear the overall leader’s magenta jersey for tomorrow’s Stage 2 from Kilkenny to Inistioge.
Heavy rain showers greeted the 105 riders as they rolled out from Hoban Hotel in Kilkenny City, with a strong cross headwind negating the potential for any attacks succeeding and keeping the peloton together until the day’s only categorised climb.
Speaking after the race, she told TriTalking Sport, “The weather was insane, it was so wet, you could hardly see in front of you. It was a really good team effort; we had really good teamwork throughout the race. I got delivered in the perfect position from all the girls going into the last bend and then I just gave it my all.”