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2014 An Post Rs Route To Suit The All Round Rider
By
Jan 29, 2014, 17:49


Mastering a combination of testing climbs and flat roads will be key to success

Eight challenging stages, comprised of over 1260 kilometres and 36 categorised climbs, the route of what promises to be an aggressive and exciting An Post Rs was launched today at Dublins GPO.

The 2014 edition of the race will travel anticlockwise around Ireland, beginning in Dunboyne on Sunday May 18th and featuring stage end finishes in Roscommon, Lisdoonvarna, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Clonakilty, Carrick on Suir, Baltinglass and Skerries.

The race profile strikes a balance between flat fast roads, undulating sections and tough climbs, with a total of five category one mountains and five category two ascents set to shake up the peloton.

Climbers will seek to make the most of stages such as Charleville to Cahirciveen on day four, which features no less than ten categorised ascent and the stage six, summit finish on Seskin Hill in Carrick on Suir.

However, race organiser Tony Campbell believes a good balance has been struck and that one group of riders will not be favoured over another.

I wouldnt say it is a pure climbers race, he states. There are climbs, but there are also a lot of fast roads where plenty of aggressive racing will be done. I think it is more or less one for a good, hard strong rider, a guy who can push up over the hills and who is also good when the speed is on. I think its an An Post Rs for the strong all-rounder.

In some ways it is similar to last years route. The first two stages are mainly flat; although day two has a category one climb near the finish. The speed will really be on during those stages and I think the effects of that will tell on the third and fourth day when riders start to get worn out.

Campbell added that the fourth stage from Charleville in Cork into Cahirciveen, Co Kerry has the potential to really shake up the peloton.

The day around Cahirciveen is going to be a hard stage. It is over 180 kilometres that day and will be difficult. The climb up Seskin Hill will also be important, but there will be plenty of opportunity throughout the eight days for attacks. The speed and the distance will tell - they will make things hard.

Former An Post rider Ronan McLaughlin was on hand to launch this years route alongside fellow Irish riders Roger Aiken and Connor McConvey. McLaughlin, who came agonisingly close to winning a stage following a heroic solo ride into his hometown in Bundoran in 2012, is busy putting together a Donegal based outfit for this years race.

Im working on getting a Donegal team together for the An Post Rs, which has been a very exciting new challenge for me. The course looks to be set up to give every rider a chance, although I think it will be won or lost in the tough middle stages where the mountains will have a big say in the outcome.

The race gets underway on Sunday May 18th with a stage guaranteed to result in very aggressive racing. Starting in Dunboyne, riders will battle it out for bonus seconds at the Post Office Primes and Hot Spot Sprints in Athboy, Coole, Edgeworthstown and Ballymahon, with things being further enlivened by the category three climb at Richmount.
The pace will ramp up further before the finish in Roscommon, where the riders will fight for the stage win and, once the time gaps and bonuses are calculated, the first yellow jersey will be awarded.

An Post CEO, Donal Connell is looking forward to another exciting edition of Irelands top-ranked UCI race this year and today announced that An Post will continue to sponsor the Rs in 2015.

This is the fourth year of our very successful partnership with the Rs. Together, An Post and the Rs bring incredible racing around the country and we receive massive support from communities all along the route. The 2014 route will deliver another special edition of the race this coming May and An Post is pleased to confirm that we will continue our sponsorship for Rs and through this, our support for Irish Cycling into 2015.

As a bonus for the County Riders, An Post is running a C-Factor competition, looking for the County Rider who best exemplifies the spirit of the An Post Rs between todays launch and the final day of the race on May 25th. He will earn the Chapeau of his fellow riders and Rs watchers through his performance in this years event. He will be marked as one to watch for the future, not just through his An Post Rs results but also through his use of media and social media in particular. County Riders must use #ras2014 @anpostras with details on anpostras.ie.

Details of the international teams set to join this years An Post Rs will be released over the coming months. The An Post Sean Kelly team has already committed to participating.

An Post Rs route 2014 (UCI 2.2, May 18 May 25):

Stage 1, Sunday May 18: Dunboyne to Roscommon, 149.8 km:

Stage 2, Monday May 19: Roscommon to Lisdoonvarna, 159.2 km:

Stage 3, Tuesday May 20: Lisdoonvarna to Charleville, 154.2 km:

Stage 4, Wednesday May 21: Charleville to Cahirciveen, 183.6 km:

Stage 5, Thursday May 22: Cahirciveen to Clonakilty, 168.9 km:

Stage 6, Friday May 23: Clonakilty to Carrick on Suir, 167.9:

Stage 7, Saturday May 24: Carrick on Suir to Baltinglass, 147.7:

Stage 8, Sunday May 25: Newbridge to Skerries, 134.3 km:

Tony Campbell Race Director


Detailed analysis:

Stage 1, Sunday May 18: Dunboyne to Roscommon, 149.8 km:

The 149.8 kilometre opening day of the 2014 An Post Rs is, according to race organiser Tony Campbell, all about distributing the jerseys and setting the tone. There will be one climb and four Post Office Primes and Hot Spot Sprints, with each of those four offering time bonuses which could well determine who holds the first leaders jersey. Those factors combined should make for a very aggressive stage.

Racing begins in Dunboyne and after passing through Trim, the peloton will scrap it out for the Post Office Prime and Hot Spot sprint in Athboy, 41.1 kilometres after the drop of the flag. The next takes place 35.4 kilometres later in Coole, with a third in Edgeworthstown, 95.4 kilometres after the start.

Those riders targeting the mountains jersey will emerge on the category three climb at Richmount (km 106.1). The yellow jersey battle will be on at the Ballymahon An Post Prime & Hot Spot Sprint (km 114) and into the first stage finish in Roscommon.

The first climb will award the jersey but the stage is really about the Primes, says Race Director, Tony Campbell. There are four Post Office Primes in all and each awards a time bonus of three, two and one seconds. There is no time bonus at the finish, and so there is a big incentive for the breaks to go clear and pick up those seconds.

This will encourage people to race as hard as possible during the stage. Looking at the profile, you might expect the stage to finish with a big bunch sprint, but then we were anticipating that last year into Longford and riders got clear and opened a good gap. That was a surprise and shows anything can happen.

Stage 2, Monday May 19: Roscommon to Lisdoonvarna, 159.2 km:

Stage two of the race leaves Roscommon and features the first of two Post Office Primes in Ballygar after fifteen kilometres of racing. Passing through Newbridge, Moylough, Athenry, Kinvarra and Ballyvaughan, the second Prime is in Creggagh (km 135.2), then two categorised climbs rear up. The first of those is the category three ascent at Ballinalacken (km 144.6), with things becoming more difficult with the first category one mountain of the race looming up at Doonagore. From there a little under eight kilometres remain before the finish in Lisdoonvarna, guaranteeing flat out racing between those who opened a gap over the climb and the others who were distanced and are anxiously trying to get back on terms before the line.

Day two is another fast day but there is also a hard climb, the category 1 Doonagore, says Campbell. It is about eight kilometres from the finish and there will be hard chase to the finish line. That climb will do a bit of damage.

Before that, though, it will be tough going around the Burren. As you go from Ballyvaughan, you are into hard roads. The riders will slog through that and eventually reach Donnagore. Its the first category one climb in the race, and so things could well break up there.

In the past, riders have come in twos and threes from that section, with get a big group of guys finishing further back. So it could be pretty broken up in Lisdoonvarna.

Stage 3, Tuesday May 20: Lisdoonvarna to Charleville, 154.2 km:

Day two was about lumpy, heavy and hilly roads but the riders who prefer higher speeds should have more to look forward to on stage three from Lisdoonvarna to Charleville. The 154.2 kilometres of action will include two category three climbs, but otherwise there are plenty of big gear roads.

After the drop of the flag the bunch will speed through Corofin, Ennis, Newmarket on Fergus and Sixmilebridge en route to the first of those climbs, Cloghoolia (km 63.6), with the second topping out just under nine kilometres later at Knockbrack.

From there the riders will hurtle through Newport, Boher and Caherconlish to the Limerick town of Hospital, for the days sole Post Office Prime. Just 27 kilometres remain from that point, threading through Knocklong, Elton and Kilmallock en route to Charleville.

It will be a fast stage the whole way, including the run in to the finish, predicts Campbell. In the middle of the stage we are taking a detour around Limerick on a twisty, undulating road. Then from Newport to the finish it is pretty flat. Some will expect a sprint, but its also possible for a small group to slip away.

The last time we finished into Charleville, Dermot Nally won the stage. He came in on his own, so its possible to do so on those roads.

Stage 4, Wednesday May 21: Charleville to Cahirciveen, 183.6 km:

Stage four could well be the most difficult of the 2014 An Post Rs for two reasons. The 183.6 kilometre race from Charleville to Cahirciveen is the longest stage; in addition to that, it features no less than ten categorised climbs, including two category two ascents and a category one mountain. There are also Post Office Primes at Killorglin and Glenbeigh, adding interest to what should be a very active day.

After the drop of the flag in Charleville and a relatively flat first half hour, seven category three climbs set the tone for what will be a tougher finale, with hills rearing up at Glenduff (km 23.9), Glenquin (km 34), Kinlea (km 51.3), Ahaneboy (km 63.8), Curraheen/Seefin (km 114.1), Drum West (km 120.5) and Gortnagree/Mount Foley (km 133.2).

After passing through Cahirciveen, the category two pairing of Raheen (km 153), and Cill Urlat (km 157.1) rear up prior to the category one slog up Coomanaspic (km 163.3), which comes just 20.3 kilometres from the finish in Cahirciveen.
This day has ten climbs and it is also the longest stage, so it is going to be a really hard day, says Campbell. It should do a fair bit of damage, breaking things up. You could get groups going up the road early on, then being brought back and going straight out the back.

Coomanaspic is a tough category one climb but then you have twenty kilometres of a descent from that to the finish, so it will be a very, very fast. It could give a chance for two or three groups to amalgamate on the run in to the line.

This has the most climbs in a stage for a long time, and it could well be one of the hardest days of this years race. That said, the riders make the race themselves and other days could end up being as tough if they race flat out on the undulating roads.

Stage 5, Thursday May 22: Cahirciveen to Clonakilty, 168.9 km:

The second-longest stage of the race at 168.9 kilometres, the race from Cahirciveen to Clonakilty will be a little more straightforward than the previous day, but still features five categorised climbs. The category two Coomakista is the first of those, coming 22 kilometres after the drop of the flag. The riders then race over the category three climb at Derryquinn prior to passing through Kenmare and Bohane en route to the category two Tunnel Road/Caha Pass (km 94.1).

From there the route traces a path through Glengarriff over the category three ascents of Derrycreha (km 107.3) and Cousane (km 127.6) prior to a flatter, final forty kilometres taking the riders through Dunmanway, Ballingurteen, Drinagh and on to the finish at Clonakilty, where there is a steep ramp up to the line.

The riders could be pretty tired from the day before and that could do a lot of damage again, says Campbell. It could break up. There is a good fast run into the finish from the last climb. Whats important to note is that the finish is uphill, it is very steep in the last 200 metres into the centre of Clonakilty.

The finish could see some seconds open up between the riders so that could be significant for the overall if the time gaps are tight between the top guys.

Stage 6, Friday May 23: Clonakilty to Carrick on Suir, 167.9 km:

Much of day six will be about high speeds, big gears and flat-out racing, even if the roads through Bandon, Cork, Youghal, and Dungarvan will include category three climbs at Killountane (km 29.2), Kilmurriheen (km 39.4) and The Pike (km 136.5). The pace will be furious and this could make things a little complicated for the pure climbers, who will seek to save as much energy as possible prior to the toughest finish of the 2014 An Post Rs, the category one climb of Seskin Hill.

Located on the outskirts of Carrick on Suir, the steep ascent is legendary as one of the training climbs used by Sean Kelly during his career and also a road which featured in the Nissan Classic during the eighties. The general classification contenders and those seeking a stage win will go all out on the climb, guaranteeing a gripping finish to the 167.9 kilometre race.

The road along the coast to Dungarvan has often done a lot of damage due to the speed; it is often a tailwind with some great racing, says Campbell. The bunch has split many a time on the flat, the speed cracks them.

There is then a very hard finish up that climb. It comes after six days of racing and the riders will be getting very tired at that point.

It could be a really decisive stage, being so flat beforehand and then the summit finish. The climbers will look forward to it, but they have to cope with the speed before they get to Seskin Hill.

Stage 7, Saturday May 24: Carrick on Suir to Baltinglass, 147.7 km:

The penultimate day of racing will likely be the best chance for anyone still trying to overhaul the yellow jersey as the final stage seldom sees big time gaps. The 147.7 kilometre race from Carrick on Suir to Baltinglass includes seven climbs as well as a Post Office Prime at Gowran, although the profile is flatter towards the end and could provide opportunity for regrouping.

The first climb of Tullaghought (category 3) comes just over eleven kilometres from the start. The gap between this and the next category three ascent of Knockdramagh is over sixty kilometres and will likely see a break trying to build a big lead in the interim.

The profile gets considerably tougher after that, with the category two Heights climb (km 75.4) being followed in very quick succession by the category one pairing of Corabutt (km 78.4) and Mount Leinster (km 82). Those should create gaps, although the 65 kilometres from the summit of Mount Leinster to the finish could give any contenders in difficulty time to try to get back on terms.

The fast roads to the finish are briefly interrupted by category three climbs at Rossard (km 101) and Bunclody (km 110.6). From there the pace will be high tempo through Tullow and Rathvilly, then on to the finish in Baltinglass

I think this will be a hard day, says Campbell. The stage is going to be another fast one. There are two category one climbs earlier in the stage, Corabutt and Mount Leinster. They are quite a distance from the finish, though, so there will be good racing in the road.

The climb out of Bunclody could do a lot of damage. Even though it is only a category three, it is a steep one. There is an undulating road all the way to Rathvilly, then a very fast finish from there in to Baltinglass.

Stage 8, Sunday May 25: Newbridge to Skerries, 134.3 km:

The final stage of this years An Post Rs has a familiar look to it, following many of the same roads and climbs as in recent years and once again concluding in the seaside town of Skerries. This location guarantees a huge turnout of crowds and great racing. If the battle for yellow is tight, the five categorised climbs and sheltered roads on the stage will provide some hope for ambitious riders.

After starting in Newbridge, the first of those five climbs comes very early on, with the category three Hill of Allen rearing up a mere six kilometres from the roll-out. The riders then race through Prosperous, Kilcock, Dunsany, Dunshaughlin and Rathoath, over the category three climb at Pluckhimin (km 78) and on through the Naul and Balrothery to the category three ascent at Cross of the Cage (km 97.7).

Soon afterwards the peloton will cross the finish line in Skerries for the first time, with two finishing laps cover. Each lap includes the category three Black Hills climb (km 109.8 and km 125.1), providing the final uphill platform for attacks before the conclusion of the 2014 edition of the race.

This is the now-traditional final stage, and includes two laps of the Skerries circuit, says Campbell. I expect aggressive racing. It could be like last year, in terms of the bunch chasing the breakaways. That was an exciting finish. I think there will be a break and then the bunch trying to get back up to it before the line.

Stage details and key points along route:

Stage 1, Sunday May 18: Dunboyne to Roscommon, 149.8 km: (1 climb)

Dunboyne, Trim, Athboy Post Office Prime and Hot Spot sprint (km 41.1), Delvin, Drumcree, Collinstown, Castlepollard, Coole Post Office Prime and Hot Spot Sprint (km 76.5), Lismacaffrey, Lisryan, Edgeworthstown Post Office Prime and Hot Spot Sprint (km 95.4), KOM Category 3 at Richmount (km 106.1), Ballymahon Post Office Prime and Hot Spot Sprint (km 114), Lanesboro, Roscommon

Stage 2, Monday May 19: Roscommon to Lisdoonvarna, 159.2 km: (2 climbs)

Roscommon, Athleague, Mount Talbot, Ballygar Post Office Sprint (km 15), Newbridge, Mountbellow, Moylough, Abbeyknockmoy, Athenry, Craughwell, Ardrahan, Kinvara, Ballyvaughan, Creggagh Post Office Prime (km 135.2), KOM Category 3 at Ballinalacken (km 144.6), KOM Category 1 at Doonagore (km 151.5), Lisdoonvarna

Stage 3, Tuesday May 20: Lisdoonvarna to Charleville, 154.2 km: (2 climbs)

Lisdoonvarna, Kilfenora, Corofin, Ennis, Clarecastle, Dromoland, Newmarket on Fergus, Sixmilebridge, KOM Category 3 at Cloghoolia (km 63.6), KOM Category 3 at Knockbrack (km 72.4), Montpelier, Birdhill, Newport, Boher, Caherconlish, Hospital Post Office Prime (km 127.1), Knocklong, Elton, Kilmallock, Charleville

Stage 4, Wednesday May 21: Charleville to Cahirciveen, 183.6 km: (10 climbs)

Charleville, Newtownshandrum, Milford, Drumcolliher, Broadford, KOM Category 3 at Glenduff (km 23.9), Ashford, KOM Category 3 at Glenquin (km 34), Abbeyfeale, KOM Category 3 at Kinlea (km 51.3), KOM Category 3 at Ahaneboy (km 63.8), Farranfore, Firies, Milltown, Killorglin Post Office Prime (km 101.7), KOM Category 3 at Curraheen/Seefin (km 114.1), Glenbeigh Post Office Prime (km 115.1), KOM Category 3 at Drum West (km 120.5), KOM Category 3 at Gortnagree/Mount Foley (km 133.2), Cahirciveen, KOM Category 2 at Raheen (km 153), KOM Category 2 at Cill Urlat (km 157.1), St. Finians Bay, KOM Category 1 at Coomanaspic (km 163.3), Portmagee, Cahirciveen

Stage 5, Thursday May 22: Cahirciveen to Clonakilty, 168.9 km: (5 climbs)

Cahirciveen, Waterville, KOM Category 2 at Coomakista (km 22), Derrynane, Castlecove, Sneem, KOM Category 3 at Derryquinn (km 53.6), Templenoe, Kenmare, Bohane, KOM Category 2 at Tunnel Road/Caha Pass (km 94.1), Glengarriff, KOM Category 3 at Derrycreha (km 107.3), Ballylickey, Pearses Bridge, Kealkill, KOM Category 3 at Cousane (km 127.6), Dunmanway, Ballingurteen, Drinagh, Clonakilty

Stage 6, Friday May 23: Clonakilty to Carrick on Suir, 167.9: (4 climbs including summit finish)

Clonakilty, Ballinascarty, Pedlars Cross, Bandon, Inishannon, KOM Category 3 at Killountane (km 29.2), KOM Category 3 at Kilmurriheen (km 39.4), Cork, Jack Lynch Tunnel, Castlemartyr, Killeagh, Youghal, Dungarvan, KOM Category 3 at The Pike (km 136.5), Lemybrien, Mahon Bridge, Carrick on Suir, KOM Category 1 climb at Seskin Hill (km 167.9)

Stage 7, Saturday May 24: Carrick on Suir to Baltinglass, 147.7: (7 climbs)

Carrick on Suir, KOM Category 3 at Tullaghought (km 11.8), Kilmaganny, Newmarket, Knocktopher, Jerpoint Abbey, Thomastown, Dungarvan, Gowran Post Office Sprint (km 46.3), Goresbridge, Borris, KOM Category 3 at Knockdramagh (km 72.6), KOM Category 2 at The Heights (km 75.4), KOM Category 1 at Corabutt (km 78.4), KOM Category 1 at Mount Leinster (km 82), Kiltealy, KOM Category 3 at Rossard (km 101), KOM Category 3 at Bunclody (km 110.6), Tullow, Rathvilly, Baltinglass

Stage 8, Sunday May 25: Newbridge to Skerries, 134.3 km: (5 climbs)

Newbridge, KOM Category 3 at Hill of Allen (km 6), Allen, Kilmeague, Prosperous, Painstown, Kilcock, Garadice, Dunsany, Dunshaughlin, Rathoath, Curragha, KOM Category 3 at Pluckhimin (km 78), Garristown, Naul, Reynoldstown Bridge, Balrothery, KOM Category 3 at Cross of the Cage (km 97.7), Skerries (first passage through finish line), KOM Category 3 at Black Hills (km 109.8), Skerries (second passage through finish line), KOM Category 3 at Black Hills (km 125.1), Skerries

For More information contact:

David Foster An Post Rs Press Office, 01-6690030
david.foster@ogilvy.com

Aileen Mooney An Post Communications, 087-9975819
aileen.mooney@anpost.ie

Tony Campbell Rs Race Director, 086-8541974
tonycampbell@anpostras.com

www.anpostras.ie



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2014 An Post Rs Route To Suit The All Round Rider

 

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