In less than two weeks teams from around the world, including places as far away as Morocco and Taiwan, will line up for the start of the 2012 An Post Rás. This is the 60th anniversary of the famous race, and it has four stages passing through County Donegal including finishes in Bundoran, Buncrana, Killybegs and Donegal Town. Last year saw huge numbers cheering the riders along the route and at the stage finishes and this years Rás organiser, Dermot Dignam, is hoping to see similar crowds.
Leaving from Westport, Co. Mayo at 11am on Wednesday, May 23rd, the riders will embark on a relatively flat 135 kilometres of road to the stage finish at Bundoran and Dignam is expecting alot of action towards the end of this stage.
“This is a real sprinters day. It is 135 kilometres of flat roads through Charlestown and Sligo, and promises to be a great finish into Bundoran. The final run-in is straight and fast, with a slight rise to the line coming in the last four to five hundred metres. The stage ends on the bridge in Bundoran, with the beautiful backdrop of the Atlantic ocean behind.”
The following day’s fifth stage on Thursday, 24th, begins from Bundoran and is a complete contrast with seven climbs, one of which is generally regarded as being the toughest single ascent in Ireland.
The final stage in Donegal on Saturday, 26th is the penultimate day of the race and also the longest at 161 kilometres. It sets off from Donegal town on a considerably flat route and finishes at Cootehill,Co. Cavan.
The 8 day International cycling race takes place from May 20th to 27th and the emphasis will again be placed on national, regional and top level sponsored amateur cycling teams.