STAGE 3, TUESDAY 24TH MAY KILRUSH - CASTLEISLAND 175KMS
Kilrush, Lissycasey Hot Spot Sprint, Ennis, Clarecastle, Newmarket-On-Fergus, Limerick, Patrickswell Hot Spot Sprint, Adare, Newcastlewest, Barnagh Gap Category 3 KOM, Templeglantine, Abbeyfeale, Ahaneboy Category 3 KOM , Castleisland, Crag Cave Category 1 KOM , Castleisland.
|Last 3km. Map|
|Last 3km. Profile|
|Castleisland Town Map|
Those opening two days of the race could play into the hands of the sprinters, but things should start to change on day three’s difficult 175.3 kilometre race from Kilrush to Castleisland. It starts out steadily enough with a Post Office prime at Lissycasey (km. 26.1) and, after passing through Ennis and Newmarket-on-Fergus, another sprint at Patrickswell (km. 86.2).
However the climbers will start to feel more at home thanks to the third category ramps at Barnagh Gap (km. 124.5) and Ahaneboy (km. 153.6), which rear up before the peloton crosses the finish line for the first time. Once on the 12.8 kilometre finishing loop, things will get even more serious due to the inclusion of the highly difficult category one climb of Crag Cave (km. 167.2). The summit comes a mere eight kilometres from the finish line and will pay a major part in both the outcome of the stage and also the shape of the general classification.
“This is the longest stage of the race and will be an interesting one as there are a lot of fast open roads where wind direction could wreak havoc” said Dignam. “Near the end we have the Crag Cave climb which is really very, very steep. If the bunch is still together going across the finish line the first time in Castleisland, it definitely won’t be together after Crag Cave…it will split all over the place.
“It’s a long time since we used the climb, and it is a very hard one. It will be a tremendous spectacle, particularly in sports-loving Castleisland.