There are less than three weeks to go until the 2015 An Post Rás kicks off with a plethora of international teams competing, and the added excitement of two Mayo stages.
Newport will play host to the fourth stage finish on Wednesday May 20, while Ballina’s Tone Street is the setting for the stage five finish line on Thursday May 21.
The Wild Atlantic coastal routes of Mayo will provided a challenging backdrop during the gruelling eight day cycling extravaganza and fans can expect an action packed few days of intense, high calibre racing.
An Post Rás organiser Tony Campbell is once again expecting great support for Ireland’s only UCI ranked race.
“It is fantastic to see An Post Rás come back to Mayo again,” he said.
“We have a very exciting line-up of teams this year so I have no doubt it will be a thrilling couple of days racing.
“I am sure that the locals will show some great support to the riders as they make their way through the county.”
Following the fourth stage which will set off from Bearna, Co Galway on May 20, the peloton will embark on a difficult 155 kilometre course en route to the stage finish in Newport.
The town will also host the start of stage five, which will see riders make their way 142 kilometres towards Ballina, and Tony Campbell expects gusting winds and wide open roads to cause serious difficulties for riders.
“There are no climbs or An Post Hotspot Sprints on stage four, but I think wind will be a huge factor,” he said.
“It is completely wide open all day. You are twisting and turning on yourself. You are going out the west, then you are going south, and then you are cutting across to the west again. It could be a very crucial stage.”
Campbell is urging locals to come out and cheer on the riders as they pass through the county.
“We have teams coming from all around the world to compete - Azerbaijan, New Zealand, Canada, Austria, and France to name a few – so the reputation of the Rás and the toughness of the race is renowned worldwide,” he said.
“Not only will it make for great viewing for fans, but it gives local riders the opportunity to compete against some of the very best cycling talent in the world.”
The eight day international cycling road race takes place from May 17 to 24.
An Post has partnered up once again with RTÉ for the famous race, and cycling fans eager to follow the action can log on to www.rte.ie/anpostras for exclusive rider interviews, highlights from each stage, results and classification standings.
Regular updates are also available on www.anpostras.ie