Two In A Row For Tayler Wiles As The An Post Rás na mBan Enters Third Stage
The An Post Rás na mBan entered its third stage today, with frontrunner Tayler Wiles vying to hold on to the Pink Jersey for the second day running.
The event is unique in the Irish women’s cycling calendar in that it gives inexperienced riders the chance to compete against some of the world's top road racers. The opportunity to race in an event like this is an important part of a rider's development, allowing them to learn the technical skills required to compete in the bunch but also giving them a measure of their progress against more established riders.
For some, it can be a baptism of fire but others thrive under the pressure.
One such rider is Suzetta Guerrini from London, guesting at the An Post Rás na mBan for the Meadowlark team. Not without an impressive sporting record, Suzetta is in her first season of bike racing, riding for several teams on the UK domestic circuit, and has never competed in a multi-day stage race before.
As well as being one of the less experienced riders in the race, Suzetta is also one of the oldest at the age of 46. After building a successful party organising business in the UK, she decided at 40 years of age to sell up so she could spend more time with her young family.
With more time on her hands, she began competing in triathlons and soon achieved success in age category events, culminating in a European title and 11th place in the World Championships.
For Suzetta, the early stages in Co Clare have worked out well. She finished in the leading bunch on Wednesday’s stage one, her first ever bunch sprint, and then rode strongly on the long Wild Atlantic Way stage on Thursday to again end the day in the first group, crossing the line in 28th place.
In this morning’s 8km Individual Time Trial, ridden alone against the clock, her triathlon experience came to the fore as she stormed to a very impressive seventh place on the stage, just 50 seconds behind stage winner and former US Under-23 Time Trial Champion Tayler Wiles of the DID Electrical Cycle4Life team.
Wiles tore through the 8km course in a time of 11 minutes 0.63 seconds, an average speed of 43.6 kph, taking a massive 32 seconds out of second place finisher, yesterday's lone escapee Mathilde Matthijsse of the Bonito Squadra Corsa team. Molly Weaver of the Epic Scott team came less than half a second behind Matthijsse in third place.
Wiles retains the An Post Pink Jersey as race leader after the time trial and this evening's fast and furious circuit race in Ennis, which was taken in a hotly contested sprint by leading Irish rider Fiona Meade of Team Munster.
Suzetta Guerrini lies in 11th place overall this evening, a great achievement for a first time rider, which really does show that it’s never too late to get out and compete at the highest level.
If you can’t make it to Co. Clare, Her.ie will be updating you from the race on these very pages, with the help of Ronan Fox, a race official with An Post Rás na mBan. He is always with the race leaders and is best placed to report on the top action of the day!