The 2017 An Post Rás route was announced yesterday at the GPO. The race, will be returning to Donegal for the first time in five years.
The 65th edition of the race will travel clockwise around Ireland with stage finishes in Longford, Newport, Bundoran, Buncrana, Dungloe, Donegal town and Ardee before the customary finale in Skerries.
Starting in the historic settings of Dublin Castle for the second consecutive year, the race will total just under 1,200 kilometres, and will act as a platform for climbers, sprinters and attacking riders to battle it out for the coveted Rás yellow jersey.
As ever, the race will see Ireland’s finest amateur riders compete against top professional teams and seasoned internationals from around the world, making it a thrilling eight-day spectacle.
“Overall, the race is hillier than it has been in these past couple of years but you can expect that when it is in Donegal,” said An Post Rás Race Director, Tony Campbell.
“I think that it will be very fast in the first three days and I think the Irish boys will be well prepared for the speed. After that, it is in the lap of the Gods for the climbing.”
While recognising that the uphill climbs will be decisive, Campbell also anticipates that fast, aggressive racing should also play a big part in determining the final winner.
“I always say you can design all the circuits you want but it is up to the riders to race it.”
“They make the race, really, and there are some top quality domestic riders out there. The last time we did the same route for the opening stage in to Longford, it was a very fast stage and an Irishman, Conor Dunne, took the spoils. So while a big chunk in the middle of the race is certainly mountainous, there are roads throughout where speed will play a big part.”
“An Post is the leading supporter of cycling in Ireland,” said Aileen Mooney, Corporate Communications Manager, An Post, pointing to the long relationship between An Post and Ireland’s only UCI ranked race.
“For a decade our trusted and recognisable brand has helped raise the profile and standard of the sport, adding to the fabric of Irish life through events like An Post Rás.”
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.