For the first time since 1995, Clonakilty will host a stage-end finish of the 2014 An Post Rás eight-day international cycle race. The Rás is included on the prestigious Union Cycliste Internationale Calendar of Cycle races. As such it is eligible to award world ranking points required by National Federations to qualify for participation in the Olympic Games and World Cycling Championships.
On Thursday, May 22, starting at Caherciveen, approximately 200 cyclists from Ireland, the UK, mainland Europe and as far away as Canada and New Zealand, having cycled 170Km, will race into the town of Clonakilty on the fifth stage of the race, to what should be a spectacular finish.
The Stage is the second-longest of the week and will feature a number of categorised climbs along the route through the towns of Kenmare, Glengarriff and Dunmanway. On the approach to the town from the west, the riders will race along the by-pass on to Larkin Street, Connolly Street and Rossa Street, crossing the town’s main thoroughfare at McCarthy’s Newsagency, and up the steep incline to the finish at the top of McCurtain Hill. The cyclists will be followed by a cavalcade of cars and vans forming an exciting and colourful spectacle on the roads of West Cork. On the Friday morning at 11am, the Rás will set off from Pearse Street on the next stage to Carrick on Suir
This is the seventh time since the Rás Tailteann started in 1953 that the Rás has been welcomed to Clonakilty. Ireland’s major senior cycle race always helps to raise the national and international profile of the town, and with up to 400 overnight visitors to the area, and an estimated spend of €35,000 it is a huge tourism boost, and a welcome start to the Summer season.
The local organising committee would like to thank the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Simon Coveney,TD, for agreeing to officially launch the stage-end at The Quality Hotel, and to acknowledge the support of the Town Council and The Mayor, Chamber of Commerce, West Cork Triathlon Club, Credit Union as well as all the other volunteers who will be active on the day.