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by Shane Stokes
February 14, 2018
Coquard wins stage 1 of the Tour of Oman; Report: Froome anti-doping hearing may take place in the coming days; Scarponi investigation closed after driver involved in collision dies; Opinion: Time for Chris Froome and Sky to rebuild the people’s trust; Mountainous Rás Tailteann route unveiled; CyclingTips Podcast: The world’s slowest wheel change and a bit of world politics; Audio: Rás legend Gaybo Howard remembered in entertaining interview; Video: UAE Team Emirates – Wind tunnel test; Video: Inertia ft. Brandon Semenuk;
Cameron Meyer (Australian national team) in action during the 2017 An Post Ras in Ireland.
Confirmed as going ahead despite the loss of title sponsor An Post, the route of Ireland’s Rás Tailteann was unveiled on Tuesday. The race launch was originally due to be held in Dublin on Wednesday, but the death of race official Gaybo Howard and the holding of his funeral on the same day led to the change of timing.
Although the sponsorship search is ongoing, a slush fund means that the 2.2-ranked event will take place. The 2018 edition will begin in Drogheda, end in Skerries, and take in 34 categorised climbs plus 1168.7 kilometres over the eight days.
The race begins on May 20 with an undulating 136 kilometre stage to Athlone. Day two runs 148.7 kilometres to Tipperary, while the third stage to Listowel will be a flat, fast 140.4 kilometres. One of the hardest stages is stage four to Glengarrif, with eight categorised climbs along the 153 kilometre route. This includes the first category Healy Pass. It is followed by a flatter 150.2 kilometres to Mitchelstown, with a second first category climb – Gorteen – appearing on stage six to Carlow.
Stage seven to Naas is even more difficult, with the 141 kilometre leg through Wicklow dotted with eight climbs. These include the category one pairing of Drumgoff and Wicklow Gap, and the race may well shake up the GC. The Rás Tailteann concludes on Sunday May 27 with an undulating 144.6 kilometre race to Skerries.
“This year’s route is very reminiscent of the 2013 route, when we headed down to Kerry and Glengarriff. A couple of stages are very different, though,” says the new race director Eimear Dignam. “For the most part, there are a lot of hills, but there are an awful lot of very fast roads and very undulating roads on a lot of the stages.”
Click through to read more at the Rás Tailteann site.