Ras Tailtean, the most prestigious race in Irish cycling, will ride into Carlow town on Friday afternoon and leave on Saturday morning as Institute of Technology Carlow receives and see off 155 riders as hosts of Stages 6 and 7 of the international cycling event.
Traffic restrictions are expected around Barrack Street and Green Lane on both days as the eight-day international race arrives and departs from the Carlow town. The 1,200km cycling challenge, which began in Drogheda on Sunday, features the Irish national team, 11 international squads and 19 Irish county teams and already there is ferocious competition between the international and domestic riders.
Friday sees the start of Stage 6 of the race, a 154.6km stretch from Mitchelstown to Carlow w with the riders are expected to arrive at Barrack Street from 2pm. The teams will gather at the Institute of Technology Carlow on Friday before starting Stage 7 from Barrack Street at 10.30am for the 141.2 kms to Naas. This year’s event finishes in Skerries, Dublin on Sunday afternoon.
“There will be a lot of main roads and there will be high speeds. I think this is going to be really tough on the energy levels, and riders will have to be tucked in tight. There is a long climb at Castlecomer and then very quickly after that there is the first category climb of Gorteen and a couple of category two climbs on the run into Carlow. This will make things very interesting, although there might be enough time after the last climb for things to come back together”, commented Race director Eimear Dignam.
The Rás Tailteann is unique in that it features a huge mix of experience, in terms of the type of racing its competitors have done before, yet every rider will start aiming to leave their mark on the race. Whether it is the battle for the final yellow jersey, for a stage win or for the best county rider prizes, everyone has something to chase and as a result, the racing is amongst the most aggressive and unpredictable in world cycling”, commented Ras organiser Eimear Dignam. “Many of the foreign riders who compete in the race comment on how unique the event is, and we expect more of the same this year.”
The international squads are the Ireland Holdsworth Pro Racing setup, the Belgian National Team, Britain Canyon Eisberg, Britain Saint Piran Elite Cycling Team, Britain Team KTM, Germany Bike Aid, Netherlands Delta Cycling X, Switzerland National Team, USA CCB Foundation – Sicleri, USA Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis and the Wales Racing Academy.
The race will feature 19 Irish county teams, namely Cycling Leinster, Antrim Velo Café Magasin, Cork Blarney RC, Cork Strata3/Velorevolution, Dublin Friends First St. Tiernan’s, Dublin Lucan PDM, Dublin Scott Orwell Wheelers, Dublin Team Gerard DHL, Dublin UCD FitzCycles, Galway Gerry McVeigh Cars – DoorMotion, Kerry Killarney, Kerry Tralee Manor West, Longford Outdoor Escape Bike Shop, Louth Jons/Scme/Glen Dimplex, Mayo Ballina Molloys Pharmacies, Mayo Castlebar Unit 7, Tipperary Collins Cycle Centre, Tipperary Panduit and Westmeath Viner-Caremark-Pactimo.
The Irish national team will feature 2014 Rás stage winner Robert-Jon McCarthy, as well as the gifted track and road rider Marc Potts plus the talented young competitors Darnell Moore, James Curry and Jake Gray.