WITH the postponement of the last two years of the race, Cycling Ireland look to revamp and redesign this year all for the fans benefit.
This year the Rás Tailteann wont be like the previous races before it as although all the race ends are the same, the beginning of the race is not.
The new big change regards the 3rd stage as Instead of starting from Castleisland in County Kerry. The race will now transfer to Newcastle West and begin stage 3 from there, but still finishes in Lisdoonvarna.
This change has been decided upon in the interest of avoiding traversing Limerick City and instead
follows a route east and north around the city. The change has been made to allow for a more interesting and challenging stage as the riders’ approach Lisdoonvarna for what is sure to be another
exciting finale and longest stage of the 2022 event.
The 2022 event is also special for another 2 particular reasons.
The stage to Castleisland in Co. Kerry will honour the 50th anniversary of the winner of the Rás in 1972,
the legendary Kerry rider, John Mangan from Killorglin.
John is infamous for his racing exploits at home and abroad and is arguably one of the best-known
athletes of his era and synonymous with the Rás. He was particularly well known on the roads of
France, where he had a distinguished racing career, recording many accolades over many years.
The final stage of the Rás in 2022, finishing in Blackrock, Co. Louth commemorates the
memory of another well-known rider from that area, Noel McGuill. Noels life was tragically lost in that
same year 1972, and the organising committee feel that it is only appropriate that Noels contribution
and participation in the Rás is acknowledged.
Race Director Ger Campbell had some comments on the race ahead to share.
“On behalf of myself and Cáirde Rás Tailteann. We are thrilled to be in a position to announce details
of our event for 2022. After a difficult four-year absence, it is fantastic to look forward to this
magnificent race returning to the highways and byways of Ireland.”
“We look forward to welcoming our visiting teams and most importantly, our own Irish based county
riders back onto the prestigious and internationally unique platform that is the Rás. This year is all
about getting the show back on the road and giving centre stage back to the county teams together
with a balanced mix of overseas competitors. We are grateful to our funding partners and sponsors,
details of which will be announced in the coming weeks, along with details of our visiting teams.”
“On a personal level it is a huge honour for me to be race director this year, given the respect I have
for those who have held the position previously. We look forward to seeing you all on the roads of our
beautiful country this coming June”
The 67th edition of the race will again travel clockwise around Ireland with stage finishes in Horse and
Jockey, Castleisland, Lisdoonvarna, Kilbeggan, before starting the final stage in Kinnegad to the
finishing circuit in seaside town of Blackrock, Co. Louth. Riders will cover 756km with 8 categorised
climbs which will act as a platform for attacking riders to battle it out for the coveted Rás yellow jersey.
Detailed Route Analysis:
Stage 1 Dublin to Horse and Jockey – 140.2 kilometres.
After assembly in Tallaght (TBC) the start proper will be from Jobstown on the N81 and will ramp up
straight away up and over the embankment and make its way through Blessington for the first Hot
Spot sprint of the day. Then the riders will make their way to Dunlavin and Athy for another Hot Spot.
The first climb of the race comes at 73.3km, the Glosna Cat 3 KOM before dropping into Castlecomer.
The riders will then attack the 4km Cat 2 climb out of Castlecomer at 89.1km which will be a sting in
the tail on what may ultimately be on paper at least, a day for the sprinters.
The race continues through Ballyragget, Freshford and Urlingford for what will be another fiercely
contested Hot Spot, the third one of the day. These 3 hotspots of course could be decisive in who pulls
on the first yellow jersey of the 2022 Rás. With a fast and flat run in to the finish in the well-known
village of Horse and Jockey. This setting, with its almost continental styled, wide boulevard, bound to
produce a spectacle of sprinting to equal any, if the sprinters get their way.
Stage 2 Horse and Jockey to Castleisland – 154.8 kilometres
After a neutralised section of approx. 9.3km which will take the race through Thurles. It’s on to
Dundrum, Tipperary Town, Kilmallock, Charleville and the Cat 3 climb at Freemount starting at 94.5km.
Continuing through Newmarket and Ballydesmond, the race will then enter Castleisland where the
riders will start a 10km finishing loop. This loop will take in the infamous Cat 2 climb of Crags Cave.
This KOM climb is sure to have a severe effect on the riders’ legs and will offer a springboard for stage
victory into Castleisland for the strongmen.
It is also likely where the overall contenders for the 2022 title will show their form in the hunt for the
yellow jersey and king of the mountain’s classifications. While it may be too early to be the day that
will indicate decisively any potential winner. The approach to Castleisland and roads of Kerry with the
climb up and over Crags Cave will for sure at the end of the day make it clear who will not make the
Stage 3 Newcastlewest to Lisdoonvarna – 172.1 kilometres
The longest stage of the race at over 170km. After a short transfer from Kerry to Limerick. The early
part of the stage will begin with mostly fast flat roads through Croagh and Adare, traversing county
Limerick via Crecora, Ballyneety, Caherconlish gliding through Newport and continuing on its way to
Birdhill crossing over the mighty Shannon River.
The riders will then head out towards Ennis, across into the beautifully rugged Clare countryside. At
140km the riders will take on the hard wide-open roads of the beautiful karst landscape of the Burren,
with the first Cat 3 at 150 km where it begins to get technical. Similar to the previous day, the riders
will tackle the Cat 2 ascent of the Corkscrew KOH, just 10km from the finish.
With over 150km of racing in their legs at that stage. This climb will again play a big part in the race
for the coveted yellow jersey and always makes for an exciting finish into the legendary town of
Lisdoonvarna. The spiritual home of the Rás in County Clare.
Stage 4 Lisdoonvarna to Kilbeggan – 154.1 kilometres
A mostly flat stage which will take the riders from Clare all the way to the midlands town of Kilbeggan
in Westmeath. This is the first time in the long history of the Rás that Kilbeggan will host a stage end. The first 40km will take the riders across narrow roads through the Burren and on to Gort, Loughrea and Athlone.
On paper, its a day for the sprinters but the Rás has a habit of throwing up the unexpected on stages
like this. Without any major climbs to focus the riders, its a day that non climbers could capitalise on
any hint of complacency. It could be a day to throw a spanner in the works in the hunt for yellow on
the penultimate stage.
Stage 5 Kinnegad to Blackrock, Louth – 135.3 kilometres
For the final stage the race transfers to Kinnegad for the start heading east to “the Wee County” of
County Louth and to the seaside village of Blackrock.
The race travels through Trim and Navan and onto Slane where they will face the Cat 3 climb in Slane
at 54km and into Co Louth for another Cat 3 climb in Collon at 63km. From there the riders will pass
through Ardee and Castlebellingham in the direction of Dundalk making their way to the beautiful
seaside village of Blackrock where the riders will arrive after 96km of racing.
They will then go on to take in 4 laps of a technical finishing circuit of just under 10km in length. This
will be a stage for spectators, where they will get to witness multiple times, the exciting final hours
racing of the 2022 edition of An Rás Tailteann.
Team registration and entry is expected to open shortly, details will announced in the next weeks.
Teams will comprise of 5 riders as in the past. However, in addition for 2022, teams will be allowed to
submit up to a maximum of two A3 riders, to compliment A1 and A2 riders.
The organisers recommend that any riders intending to race should be competing in and completing events such as the Kerry Group Rás Mumhan/Tour of the North and/or Tour of Ulster over Easter and May bank holiday weekends as preparation.
With the race in mind the CEO of Cycling Ireland, Matt McKerrow shared some words.
“Cycling Ireland is delighted to see An Rás Tailteann return to the Irish cycling calendar this year. We
are thrilled to support the International stage race and welcome top-class teams from all over the
world to Ireland for 5 spectacular days of racing.”
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