Triple world champion Jenny Holl will ride for Alba Development Road Team at this week’s prestigious Rás na mBan in Ireland. Holl, who enjoyed triple success at the recent UCI World Championships in Glasgow where she and para-cycling partner Sophie Unwin took home three golds on the track, as well as a silver and bronze on the road, has joined Alba DRT for the race in County Kilkenny.
Recruiting Holl, 23, for the Rás follows the addition of USA Cycling National Team rider Keira Bond to the Alba roster, with the 19-year-old recently signing up for the rest of the season as part of the team’s stagiaire programme for riders under the age of 25. And Alba DRT Performance Director and Team Manager Bob Lyons believes the success the 23-year-old has enjoyed can help spur her new team-mates on.
He said: “Bringing an athlete of Jenny’s calibre onboard, even for a single event, underscores our commitment to giving our riders the best opportunity to succeed. No one will fail to have been impressed by the success Jenny and Sophie enjoyed in Glasgow, and we are delighted to have her on board for the Rás na mBan. Our mission has always been to nurture and propel the finest talents in the cycling arena, and I am certain Jenny’s wealth of experience at the highest level, including the Paralympics, will help our other team members on the road to success.”
The team will be looking to build on the success of last year’s event, where Kate Richardson won the Individual General Classification, Points General Classification, Queen of the Hills Classification and Best Young Rider Classification in an astonishing performance over five days and six stages in County Kilkenny. Richardson’s reward for a startling season with Alba was a move to leading British women’s team Lifeplus Wahoo, something Holl believes shows the standard on offer at Alba.
She said: “Drawing inspiration from Kate’s unparalleled triumphs last season, I’m ready to embrace the challenges of Rás na mBan and keep the momentum going. The team is packed with quality riders and I am excited to get on the bike and prove once again that Scotland is home to a plethora of talented cyclists. The success we all enjoyed at the UCI World Championships is not something that can be a standalone event. It’s something each and every one of us wants to taste again, regardless of the discipline. It’s great to get that opportunity so soon after Glasgow, and I am looking forward to what will be a challenging race.”
While celebrated as a Paralympic pilot for Unwin, Holl has carved an impressive solo career which has seen her win silver at the 2019 European Games where she was part of the Great Britain team pursuit team.
Rás na mBan, Ireland’s top women’s international stage race, will take place in the scenic County Kilkenny from September 6-10 and will see 25 teams from 16 nations competing in a challenging five-day, six-stage event spanning 400km.
Main photo credit: SWpix