Nicole Reist has stretched her advantage in the solo competition as the leading Race Around Ireland racers head through Munster on their third day of non-stop racing.
The Swiss engineer and RAAM champion was already inside the County Kerry border as dusk fell on Tuesday evening with the leading male rider Henk Verouden of the Netherlands making his way out of Ennis, County Clare some 102km behind.
Verouden, in turn, enjoyed almost 60km advantage over third place rider, Yorkshireman John Musgrove, in Ireland’s toughest bike race.
Former winner Valerio Zamboni and Pat Doocey were locked in a titanic scrap for fourth, the pair rarely separated by more than a kilometre as they worked their way down through the Wild Atlantic Way.
Meanwhile, several counties further ahead in Midleton, County Cork, Team Aspect were the leading riders on the road among all classes in Race Around Ireland and beginning to draw clear in an amazing battle for honours among the four-person teams.
The had edged 35km clear of the second squad on the road, Team Veloroos of Australia, still a relatively small advantage in the epic world of ultra cycling.
Veloroos, the leading women’s team, were mere minutes ahead of Team Ninety-Nine from Meath and the St Tiernan’s team from Dublin, those three squads covered by less than two kilometres on the road as they worked their way through Cork City.
With over 500km still remaining for the leading teams,
and time penalties to be taken into account, it’s too close to call in one of the most thrilling contests in Race Around Ireland history.
Irish-Swiss combo Team Outmates controlled a 38km lead over Moynalty CC in the eight-rider team list as the riders switched on their lights and settled in for a third consecutive night in the saddle while Team Mick Ted enjoyed a near 100km lead over Team Aldo in the two-person match race.
With the rugged hills of Kerry awaiting for the solo riders and many of the teams, not to mention the arduous winch up the precipice of St Patrick’s Hill in County Cork, there are still many challenges left in Race Around Ireland.