Five Donegal amateur cyclists are putting the finishing touches to their preparations this week as they gear up for the biggest race in the Irish Cycling calendar, An Post Rás.
The five are Sean McFadden, Letterkenny; Shaun Stewart, Creeslough; Ciaran O’Sullivan, Letterkenny; Rory Devlin, Buncrana and Damian Lagan, Clonmany and will represent two seperate teams. McFadden, a recent winner of a stage at Rás Mumhain will ride in the colours of Chain Reaction, Online Shopping Store, with Stewart, Devlin, Lagan members of the LK Bikes team and they are joined by Ódhran Connors Dublin. The LK Bikes team is managed by Michael Black of Optimal Fitness in Letterkenny.
Ciaran O’Sullivan is returning from Australia to compete in the race. He has been working and living in Western Australia since last Autumn.
Among the quality professional competitors are Muff’s Ronan McLaughlin, who is a member of the Sean Kelly, An Post team.
“It’s a tough race and really for most of us it is all about survival. We are up against some of the top riders not only from Ireland but from right across Europe and Africa,” said Sean McFadden, who is competing in the race for the second time.
“It is 1200 kilometres over eight days with the stages varying in length from 145 k - the shortest- to 161k - the longest ” and we will be averaging between 25 and 27 miles per hour.”
The race starts in Dunboyne on Sunday at 12 noon and runs for the following eight days until the following Sunday and covers all corner of the the country North, South East and West, with three stages in Donegal.
The Donegal stages are on Thursday and Friday with the first (which is stage four) from Bundoran to Buncrana and takes in the famous Mamore Gap and finishes with the Buncrana Town stage.
Friday’s stage is from Buncrana to Killybegs passing through Letterkeny, Glenties, Ardara. The infamous Glengesh Pass, ending up in Killybegs on Friday afternoon.
The race ends in Dublin on Sunday afternoon.