It was a bittersweet week for CAMS-Basso last week at the Rás na mBan, Ireland’s premier women’s stage race.
The team was excited to get stuck into a challenging stage race ahead of the Women’s Tour next month. The team of Jess, Meg, Natalie, Emma and new signing Becky took to the start line in Kilkenny ahead of six tough stages.
Team Manager, Simon Howes said, “It’s great that the Rás is back on the calendar. It’s never easy and always very competitive. For us we had a mixed week of emotions.”
Howes is referring firstly to stage one, where a big crash took Becky out of the race. Jess put in a fantastic performance on the stage to finish third and grab a podium spot.
Jess started stage two wearing the blue stage winner’s jersey on behalf of stage one winner, Kaia Schmid. She was racing well when she was also involved in a crash which ended her race early.
Howes commented, “For me it was wonderful to see how both Becky and Jess dealt with this disappointment. Both were hurting and disappointed but they stayed with the team to show their support for the others. It perfectly demonstrates the great team spirit that has built amongst the riders this year.”
“With only three riders for the rest of the race, it was always going to be challenging to make the impact that we would have liked,” Howes continued. “With the support of Emma and Meg, Natalie did a terrific ride every day to keep herself in the running for a GC top 10.”
Natalie’s consistent results and strong performances on every stage led to her finishing 6th on GC, a great result especially in the challenging circumstances.
“After our Tour Series success it was great to see a different group of team riders come together and continue the camaraderie that the Tour Series has brought to the team,” commented Howes. “The support staff also worked tirelessly and we are always grateful for the work they do to keep our bikes, bodies and minds in shape.”
The team now turns its attention to the National Road Series before the Women’s Tour starts in Bicester on 4 October.