The Route for Kerry Group Rás Mumhan has been announced today. The first major Stage Race of the Irish Cycle Racing season will take place over the 4 days of Easter weekend, March 30th to April 2nd.
This year’s race will see Stages 1 and 4 remain the same as in recent years while Stage 2 on Saturday in North Kerry / West Limerick and Sunday’s Stage 3 on Valentia Island in South Kerry have been retained.
The format of the race will remain the same with 4 road stages. The 500 km route, which is again long and hard, will start on Good Friday, April 14th and finish four days later on Easter Monday Morning April 17th.
Stage 1. Good Friday. 100km. Starting and finishing in Killorglin, this stage takes in Killarney, Kilcummin, Scartaglin, Castleisland, Currans, Ballyfinnane, Firies, Castlemaine, Milltown and on to the finish. The Category 2 Climb at Knocknaboul at the half way point on narrow winding roads is the feature of the stage.
Stage 2. Easter Saturday. 130KM. Listowel, in North Kerry, is the starting point again for this tough hard stage, which will finish in the village of Athea in West Limerick after 130km of undulating roads. The stage is built for the real strong men, with a number of category 2 and 3 climbs. There are slight changes to the route from last year. The route will take the riders from Listowel to Ballylongford, Tarbert, Glin, up the hill out of Athea for the first of three times, through Carrigkerry and turn left at Ardagh. The race will again turn left before Shanagolden, through Ballyhahill to Glin. From there it is on to Athea, then a 40km finishing circuit through Carrigkerry , Ballyhahill and Glin for the third time before finishing up the hill out of Athea.
Stage 3. Easter Sunday. 155km. This is our annual day in South Kerry, with a series of loops once described by Irish Cycling Legend Phillip Cassidy as “the finest road racing stage in Ireland”. The fact that it includes the Category 1 Climb at Coom An Easpaig only adds to the intrigue. This will come at the 130km point of a 155 km route that also includes 6 other climbs, including the climb on Valentia Island. This will surely see the strong men come forward for final destination of the overall title. However, it is far enough from the finish to allow non-climbers to make up some of the time lost on the ascent. The stage starts and finishes in Waterville. The route is Waterville, Ballinskelligs, Valentia, Cahirsiveen, Dromid, New Chapel Cross, Portmagee, Coom An Easpaigh, The Glen, and on to the Finish in Waterville.
Stage 4. Easter Monday. 115km The final day is mostly a flat stage, starting and finishing in Killorglin. with the usual sting in the tail. The 25km loop through Beaufort is covered 3 times and then it is on to the final 10 laps of the town circuit and up the hill each time to add a further 40 km, a total of 115km. The crowd that turned up last year to witness this stage was huge and brought a great atmosphere to Killorglin. There will again be a major change to arrangements for the laps of the Donal McKenna finishing circuit on Easter Monday morning. Riders that are 3:30 down on the leaders will be withdrawn from the circuit. They will be credited with a finishing time appropriate to the lap they were removed at. This amendment will greatly facilitate the ease of movement of motor traffic in Killorglin and contribute significantly to race safety.
The Team structure is the same as last year. Teams will consist of 5 riders. Priority for engagement to the start list will be given to teams with the highest number of A1 riders. Teams may not contain more than two A3 riders.
A maximum of 40 teams will make up the field. Entry will open on Monday 12th February and close on Monday 12th March, or earlier if the entry list is full.