The KERRY GROUP RAS MUMHAN 4 Day International Cycle Race will get under way around the roads of Kerry, next week-end starting on Good Friday. The total distance for the 4 days is 498km, with 23 categorized climbs. Over 170 Riders from Ireland, England, Isle of Man, Holland, France, & Italy , will face the starter to compete for the € 6,000.prize fund for this prestigious race. This is the biggest field to compete in the Race for a long time, if not the biggest ever.
Stage 1.Good Friday April 6th . Killorglin-Sliabh Luachra-Killorglin. This is the second year in a row to go the East Kerry area. The Ras will start at 4pm in Killorglin and after 100km and 3 climbs, taking the riders to Killarney, on to Kilcummin, Scartaglin, Castleisland, Firies, Milltown and back To finish in Killorglin around 6.30pm.
Stage 2. Easter Saturday April 7th . Dingle to the Conor Pass Stage. This will be a big day for cycling in West Kerry. The 130 km stage, which will include 4 climbs will start at 12 noon in Dingle and after a trip that goes to Ventry, Slea Head , Ballyferriter, over Maam na Gaoithe, back through Ventry, over to Murreigh, Feoghanagh, back through Dingle, onto Lispole , Annascaul and Camp before facing up to finish on top of Conor Pass, the only Category 1 Climb of the entire race at 3.30pm Another dimension to the event will be the “ Etape Ras Mumhan”. This non-competitive event is for the Leisure and Sportive riders and will give them the opportunity to ride a classic stage of a major race , this starts at 8am in Dingle and will cover the full route of the Stage .
Stage 3. Easter Sunday April 8th . Waterville and Valentia Stage. The stage has a 12 noon start in the South Kerry Town of Waterville and the leading riders are expected at the finish back in Waterville again at 3.40pm. The 142km route is the same as last few years, taking in St. Finians Bay , Cahirsiveen, Dromid & Valentia Island before going back to finish in Waterville at 3.30pm
Stage 4. Easter Monday April 9th . Beaufort and Killorglin Stage. The final Stage will start at 10am , After 3 laps of the Killorglin, Beaufort, Killorglin circuit, used many times in the past , the riders will go on to the Donal McKenna circuit for 9 laps ,which will take them up the famous Hill in the town centre each time, a total of 115km. There is a cat 4 climb at the line each time which will keep the KOM title up for grabs right to the finish, approx 1pm.
There is a massive foreign challenge this year and they will attempt to take the title abroad for the First time since English man Russell Downing in 2004. Bram Imming is back with his Dutch Ruiter Team. He sensationally lost the race leaders yellow jersey on the final stage to Sean Lacey last year, After he had taken it on the stage to the Conor Pass. They also won the Team title last year. The other Dutch outfit ,West Frisia are regular visitors and are led by Tino Haakman again, he was 2nd in that fierce sprint finish into Waterville last year. Also on that team is Robert Jan Mol a stage winner in 2010 and overall Points winner also. Andrew Roche and Christian Varley lead the Isle of Man team, This is a strong outfit who are well used to Irish racing. Roche is the last man to win Ras Tailteann in the Kerry colours and Varley was 2nd to Lacey last year a mere 26secs in arrears. Not much is known of the Italian team but they are not coming for the fun of it. There are 3 English outfits, Surrey, Felt Colbornes and the Prima Europe ,ranked No1 in the South West of Britian will Include Tom Stockdale, who rode the Youth Tour in Killorglin at the same time as Mark Cavendish .
The Irish Challenge will be led by Sean Lacey and his Dan Morrissey team. They will have Paidi O Brien on board this year , winner of the final stage last year.. Conor Murphy, runner up here in the past will lead a strong Eurocycles team. Ryan Sherlock will figure prominently, but his lack of team support may hinder his efforts. Mark Dowling was runner up in the King of the Mountains last year and is sure to be suited by the terrain, while Neil Delahye’s epic stage win in South Kerry is sure to fire him. Kerry road race champion Matt Slattery is in top form and will be A candidate for the Cat 2 jersey while another Kerry man Michael Lucey will be in the Iverk Carrick Wheelers team. Charles Prendergast, who has won all the big races in the West this year is in the line up as is Daniel Clifford , a local rider who is now in the Dunboyne DID colours and his local knowledge will see him in the mix. Paul Griffin will give it another shot to try and win this title which has eluded him so far. Irish National Womens road race Champion Siobhan Horgan makes a welcome return to the race in the colours of her French GSD Gestion Team. A hand injury in a World Cup race in France may hamper her efforts here.
There are almost 70 Cat 1 riders in the field, including 5 previous winners of the race in the line up, Stephen O Sullivan, Eugene Moriarty, John Dempsey, Timmy Barry & Sean Lacey, last years winner, who has shown top early season form and is the man they all have to beat.
This big International Race will be on th roads of Kerry for 4 days. The public are asked to co-operate With the Gardai and the Stewards and are encouraged to come out and see this great spectacle as it passes by. Safety is important and keep dogs under control. Expect traffic delays while the race is in your area.