This will be the 10th time that the this exciting bicycle race will finish in our town. Mark your diaries for Sunday May 24! After nearly 1,200 kilometres, the riders will be able to look forward to a great welcome in Skerries. The An Post Rás Skerries Stage End Committee (a committee of the Skerries Community Association) are already on the case!
Here is some detail from An Post Rás HQ:
Stage 8, Sunday May 24: Drogheda to Skerries (132.6 kilometres):
The last stage of the race is the shortest but Race Director Tony Campbell says that a modification has been made to the finale which could bring about a last gasp change in the overall standings.
After the drop of the flag in Drogheda the bunch will race through Donore and Navan prior to an An Post Prime in Kilmessan, 35.1 kilometres in. The first of five third category climbs will rear up at Newtown (km 63.3) followed by the second at Ardgillan Castle (km. 83).
Soon afterwards the peloton will race into Skerries and cross the finish line for the first time, 91.4 kilometres after the start. They will then begin three 13.7 kilometre finishing laps, each bringing them across the Black Hills category three climb and providing opportunity to strong riders who are chasing overall victory or the stage win.
“The last stage is familiar to those who have been at previous editions of the An Post Rás, in that it finishes once again in Skerries” says Campbell. “It’s actually the tenth year that we are doing so and that finale has been absolutely fantastic for the race. There is a fantastic committee putting it together, and each year it is just better and better”
“This time we have put in an extra lap of the finishing circuit. We believe it could be very close in the overall standings and so the third lap could make a difference and decide the race right in the final minutes. It could be a very dramatic finale.”
Some more details
2015 AN POST RÁS ROUTE TO MAKE FOR THRILLING SPECTACLE
Speed and Tactics will be key to success
Unveiling a fast and tactical route which totals almost 1,200 kilometres, the organisers of An Post Rás today launched what could be one of the most suspenseful editions of the race in recent history.
Deliberately omitting some of the tough first category climbs that have featured in recent years, the emphasis this time around is on opening up the possibility of attacks at any point in the race. This change is set to add greatly to the unpredictability An Post Rás has long been known for.
The 2015 edition of the race will begin in Dunboyne, travelling clockwise around Ireland with stage finishes in Carlow, Tipperary, Bearna, Newport, Ballina, Ballinamore and Drogheda, before the customary finale in Skerries.
Scrapping it out over eight days, the riders will still have 21 categorised climbs to deal with. But with just two of these being second category, surprise attacks, high speeds and strong winds will likely be the biggest factors in shaking up the peloton and deciding the final overall result.
Announcing the route for the May 17th to 24th event in Dublin’s GPO, An Post Rás, Race Director, Tony Campbell anticipates a gripping contest.
“This year’s race is a lot flatter than recent years,” he stated. “However it is very rolling terrain and very exposed and there is very little shelter on a lot of stages.
“The riders are going to have to be careful of winds; if there are any sort of westerly winds, I would say they could be in big trouble. It is going to make for great racing and will also require good bike handling skills.”
As has been the case in recent years, the route was designed by Stephen O’Sullivan. Campbell said that the choice of terrain is intended to strike the right balance between the international and the domestic competitors. The new format will ensure that both groups can influence the outcome.
“Sometimes the flatter editions are the ones with the most attacking, the most action and the most tactics,” he said. “Riders will have to be vigilant every minute of the day.”
Double Olympian and former Rás winner David McCann was on hand to launch this year’s route alongside Irish riders Damien Shaw, Eoin Morton and Sean McKenna. McCann, who lifted the coveted trophy in 2004, believes this year’s route will make for a thrilling spectacle.
“It’s going to allow for typical Rás style racing with plenty of attacking, which is what we love so much about the race. It should be a great one for the neutrals and hopefully this year an Irish rider can take home the trophy.”
Day one of the race covers 154.4 kilometres from Dunboyne to Carlow and has been set up to ensure a fast, aggressive opener. It features four third category climbs at Sherlockstown, Boherboy, Hacketstown and Kilcommon each awarding points towards the King of the Mountains competition. It also includes An Post Hotspot Sprints at Naas, Clonegal and Ballon.
Time bonuses will be on offer at each of these three gallops, but larger bonuses at the finish mean that whoever wins the stage will don the first Yellow Jersey of the race.
At the GPO launch of Ireland’s top-ranked UCI race, An Post CEO, Donal Connell said:
“An Post is Rás sponsor since 2011 and we have seen things change for the positive in this time, with huge growth in cycling as a sport, a form of transport and as part of the leisure and tourism economy. An Post is part of this and we continue with our support for cycling at every level. This helps our business visibility, it allows us to be part of a positive change in the country and we see the huge and longstanding difference our support makes to An Post Rás, as it does with all of our sponsorships.”
Details of the international teams set to join this year’s An Post Rás will be released over the coming months. The An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team has already committed to participating.
An Post Rás route 2015 (UCI 2.2, May 17th – May 24th):
Stage 1, Sunday May 17: Dunboyne to Carlow (154.4 kilometres)
Stage 2, Monday May 18: Carlow to Tipperary (137.2 kilometres)
Stage 3, Tuesday May 19: Tipperary to Bearna (155.9 kilometres)
Stage 4, Wednesday May 20: Bearna to Newport (155 kilometres)
Stage 5, Thursday May 21: Newport to Ballina (142.4 kilometres)
Stage 6, Friday May 22: Ballina to Ballinamore (160.1 kilometres)
Stage 7, Saturday May 23: Ballinamore to Drogheda (142.4 kilometres)
Stage 8, Sunday May 24: Drogheda to Skerries (132.6 kilometres)