With the an Post Ras having just spent four days in Donegal, cycling is in the news and it is now the turn of the Ras Dhun na nGall to take to the roads around Ardara over the bank holiday weekend. Sponsored by the Nesbitt Arms Hotel, the Ardara Town Traders, and The Dealer “free- ads” paper, this exciting and colorful event will see 110 of the country’s best young riders take on some of Ireland’s most difficult cycling terrain.
The race has always been an important stepping stone for riders with ambitions of going to the highest levels of the sport, and several of our previous competitors have gone on to win big races all over Ireland, Britain and Europe.
The 2012 Ras Dhun na nGall takes to the roads this coming Friday evening, leaving Ardara and heading through Kilraine, Frosses, Dunkineely and Bruckless and returning to Ardara via the Five Points. This stage will be short, fast and more than likely will end in a big bunch sprint along the Main Street in Ardara just as the Melting Pot Festival is getting into full swing.
Saturday morning sees the riders in Maghera for a time- trial, which while short, will see the maximum effort from each rider as time lost or gained here may prove to be critical to the overall result of the race. Each rider will ride flat out uphill for just under two miles, and the fastest riders will cover the distance in around six and a half minutes. After a short recovery period, the riders leave Ardara again in the afternoon on a 51-mile stage that takes them through Maas and Glenties before turning at Fintown for Doochary and Lettermacaward and through Glenties to finish at the school in Ardara.
The final stage, at lunchtime on Sunday, is by far the most difficult as the riders race from Ardara through Bruckless, Dunkineely, Glenties, Clooney and Ardara again before finishing on the famous Glengesh Pass. Glengesh is known throughout Irish cycling circles as being one of the most difficult climbs in the country, friendly for spectators but much less so for the cyclists themselves at the end of three hard days of racing. While the overall winner will take the plaudits on Sunday evening in Ardara, all the riders will be content in the knowledge that they will have just completed one of the hardest races in Irish cycling.
The racing will be hard and fast for the entire weekend, and while some traffic delays may take place in the south west of the county over the weekend, the public has always been hugely supportive of the race, and the riders appreciate the courtesy and appreciation shown to them by all along the route.
Approximate time schedules:
Friday 1st June:
Depart Ardara: 7.30pm
Arrive Ardara 9.00pm
Saturday 2nd June:
First rider starts Maghera: 9.01am
Last rider finishes: 11.20am
Depart Ardara: 2.30pm
Finish Ardara: 4.48pm
Sunday 3rd June:
Depart Ardara: 12.00noon
Ardara 1st Passage: 1.48
Ardara 2nd Passage: 2.30
Finish Glengesh: 2.44pmTags: