The 63rd An Post Rás is one for the punchy climbers. The route encounters the Darty Mountains and slices through the Breifne mountains close to the border with Northern Ireland on its eight day loop around the Emerald Isle.
There are ample opportunities for sprinters too, although each stage features at least one climb there are plenty of fast flat run ins to finish towns.
This years edition runs between 17th and 24th May .
Founded by Joe Christie in 1953, the Rás is a multi-stage race around Ireland. The race has developed into a much sought after event by professional and amateur teams from many parts of the world. As part of the elite international calendar it is eligible to award qualifying points that are required for participation in Olympic Games and World Cycling Championships. It is part of the UCI Europe Tour and ranked 2.2.
Giro d’Italia race winner, Stephen Roche won a number of stages of the race in the late seventies. Past Rás yellow jersey winners include Team GB Olympic medalist Paul Manning, Olympic bronze medalist Chris Newton and German Tour de France stage winner, Tony Martin who won the race in 2007.
Six jerseys are available to riders; Overall Leader (yellow), Sprints (green) and King of the Mountains (multi-coloured). The Irish Sports Council sponsors the Under 23 White Jersey. There is also a blue jersey for the best Irish rider from a county team and an orange jersey awarded to a different person each day for who is the best placed but not wearing a classifications jersey.
The opening stage from Dunboyne travels south over 154km to Carlow, the stage offers plenty of chances for riders to show their cards with four categorised ascents to cross before the 100km mark.
Three mid-week sprint stages follow in quick succession giving the climbers a chance to rest before the weekends mountainous stages in the north-west Ireland.
Stage six tracks through County Cavan’s Breifne Mountains, forcing riders across the category three and two ascents at the 120km and 130km mark followed by a lumpy run to uphill finish.
The seventh day of the race offers little respite the route cuts through the mountains of County Cavan and into County Meath. There are three ascents at 50, 70 and 110km as well as an uncategorised climb at 120km before the run to the finish.
The final day features a lumpy run into the seaside town of Skerries followed by three spectator friendly laps of the town.