Hannah Barnes (DID Electric) powered up the finishing hill in Lisdoonvarna to take her third victory of the week in the An Post ‘Cliffs of Moher’ stage five of An Post RÃ¡s na mBan 2013.
The 20-year-old from Northamptonshire has been in unstoppable form in the group sprint finishes and further extended her lead in the NDC Points Competition while grabbing the lead of the IVCA Mountains Competition in the process.
Olivia Dillon of Team Ireland was safely in the 22-rider lead group, finishing 8th to retain her slender lead over team mate Mel SpÃ¤th ahead of Sunday’s sixth and final stage.
Second to Barnes in the sprint to the line, adding to the third place and two fourths that she has annexed so far, was Christine Majerus of Luxembourg.
Also accruing top placings is Frenchwoman Roxane Fournier of Trek Norway, who can add a third place finish to her brace of second place finishes on her first visit to the County Clare-based event.
The 89km stage started and finished in Lisdoonvarna and featured five categorised climbs as it wound its way around the North Clare coast.
DID set out their stall early in the stage as Julie Erskine and Kirsten Peetom went clear with Abergavenny RCs Manon Lloyd and Coralie Demay of DN Bretagne.
The quartet quickly established a lead of more than a minute which was reduced to just under half a minute by the top of the second climb of the day at the Cliffs of Moher, thirty kilometres into the stage.
Peetom dropped back to the pack then as Lloyd, Demay and Erskine persevered but they were absorbed by the halfway point by the greatly reduced group.
Team Ireland controlled the pace for much of the stage thanks in no small part to the efforts of third placed overall Lydia Boylan and fifth-placed Caroline Ryan.
That gave Dillon and SpÃ¤th some breathing space to control their nearest rival, Canada’s Veronique Fortin (DID).
Into the final 20km, Katrine Hofstad (Trek Norway) gained over half a minute on the lead group but she was absorbed by the top of the penultimate climb at which point a group sprint seemed likely.
Barnes was the one to watch on the tough drag to the finish in Lisdoonvarna and she didn’t disappoint, starting her sprint first and holding out for the win by jusat over a bike length from Luxembourg national champion Marjerus.
The stage win means Barnes extends her lead of the National Dairy Council Points Classification to seven points over Majerus.
She also garnered enough points on the five classified hills to overtake Jenny Fay in the IVCA Mountains Classification lead with Majerus moving into second.Â And Amy Brice again made it a great day for DID Electrical as she mounted the podium once more to collect the leaders jersey in the Clare County Council County Rider competition.
1 Barnes,Hannah IRL DID Ladies Racing Tea 2h30’06”
2 Majerus,Christine LUX Team Luxembourg 2h30’06”
3 Fournier,Roxanne NOR Trek Norway 2h30’06”
4 Malling Siggaard,Chr DEN Team Rytger 2h30’06”
5 Heine,Vita NOR Trek Norway 2h30’06”
6 Lamborelle,Nathalie LUX Team Luxembourg 2h30’06”
7 Komanski,Lauren USA Ritte Women’s CT 2h30’06”
8 Dillon,Olivia IRL Irish National Team 2h30’06”
9 Spath,Melanie IRL Irish National Team 2h30’06”
10 Letue,Jenifer NOR Trek Norway 2h30’06”
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