Mention the word ‘ras’! And what comes into your mind?

Well for me it is “Ras Mumhan” and the FBD Insurance Ras.

Thankfully, both events are listed for this season ahead.

The events are institutions in their own right. Naturally it depnds in which part of the country you are standing in! It would be a brave soul not to list both races in the same breadth and believe it or not both have stood the test of time. Not many events in this fair Isle can reminisce about their longevity, but no matter where you go or engage in chit chat, invariably cycling in Munster will inch into  the conversation as will the FBD Ras.

Ras Mumhan 4-day cycling event will take place again on the traditional dates

Over the Easter weekend from Good Friday to Easter Monday, the 10th to 13th of April .

Based in Killorglin Co. Kerry  in the Province of Munster,  it will be promoted by the local club.

This race has been in existence since the 1950’s and for the last 10 years or so has been in Killorglin.

It is the first big stage race of the Irish Cycle Racing season. The race has proved in the past to be of top quality, the terrain in the south west corner of Ireland is great cycle racing

country.

Already teams from The Surrey League , Holland, France Turkey & South Africa have expressed intrest in competing along side all the top Irish club teams.

Any Clubs, teams or individuals interested in competing should contact the Race Secretary , Mary Concannon, maryconcannon@eircom.net.

Some of cycling’s most exciting young riders will clash with experienced stage race competitors in the 57th edition of the FBD Insurance Rás, running from May 17th until May 24th this year. A tough, tactically-demanding route was unveiled by the organisers for the UCI 2.2-ranked event. It will be a serious test to endurance with three of those stages being longer than 175 kilometres.

“Stamina will win the 2009 FBD Insurance RÁS” claims Race Organiser Dermot Dignam “while the route includes something for everyone – the sprinters are catered for, the mountains are there for the climbers. But when the final accolade is presented in Skerries it’ll be to the rider with the greatest stamina. The long gruelling stages are where the valuable seconds will be gained and that’s where strength and ability will count most”.

Dignam expects a number of top-class amateur and professional teams to be in the line-up and pays tribute to the race sponsor, FBD Insurance, and the Irish Sports Council, which provides funding for the race. “We have a world-class international sports event in this country and it’s due to the backing of FBD since 1984, one of the longest running sports sponsorships in the country, and the valuable support of the Irish Sports Council”.

The battle for the final yellow jersey will be intense. That clash of contenders reaches its crescendo on the concluding leg from Clara to Skerries, a 155 kilometre race featuring four category three climbs (Pluckhimin, Cross of the Cage and two ascents of the Black Hills).

The distance includes two laps of a tough finishing circuit in Skerries and, as was the case in the past three editions of the race the overall winner was in doubt. Last year Stephen Gallagher of the An Post/Sean Kelly team was the recipient of the loudest cheers, taking an important overall victory for Irish cycling who had failed to keep the George Plant on home soil for many a long year.

———

2009 FBD Insurance RÁS:

Stage 1 May 17th, Kilcullen – Wexford, 125 kilometres;

Stage 2/ Wexford – Cobh, 178 kilometres;

Stage 3/ Cobh – Cahirciveen, 189 kilometres;

Stage 4/ Cahirciveen – Killorglin, 178 kilometres;

Stage 5/ Killorglin – Scariff, 155 kilometres;

Stage 6/ Scariff – Castlebar, 159 kilometres;

Stage 7/ Castlebar – Clara, 150 kilometres;

Stage 8/ Clara – Skerries, 155 kilometres.

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