||Last Updated: 7 Sep 2021 - 10:43:58 AM
Laois Welcomes Rás na mBan Back to the Slieve Blooms
By Declan Quigley, InForm Sport Media
6 Sep 2021,
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Stage Three of Ireland’s Top Cycle Race To Finish in the Majestic Surroundings of The Cut
World Class Women Racers will Race Through Portlaoise on Tough Mountain Stage
Rás na mBan international cycle race is getting set to visit County Laois for a second time this year when top international riders from all over the world head to The Cut in the Slieve Blooms on Friday September 10th.
Riders in the 15th edition of Ireland’s top international stage race will be competing on stage three of the five-day, six stage event when they ride into County Laois and on to the final climb in the picturesque Slieve Bloom Mountains.
The 2021 edition of the event, which was won in 2019 by Britain’s Claire Steels, starts on Wednesday 8th September and the 104km third stage of this year’s event on September 10th in County Laois will be key in deciding who wins overall.
The riders will depart Castlecomer destined for Laois with two tough climbs in the final 30km which are sure to force splits in the peloton.
The climb of Wolftrap Mountain will sap the riders’ energy before the final 4.5km assault on The Cut, a popular destination in Irish cycling history.
The riders will have little time to enjoy the spectacular scenery as they power up the final climb to the finish line where the final result is likely to have a significant impact on the overall classification.
The images of the landmark stage will be filmed for a highlights TV show to be broadcast in the weeks following the event.
Riders from 13 nations representing 21 teams are already confirmed for Rás na mBan 2021 where they will do battle over five days and six separate stages to secure the overall title.
In welcoming Rás na mBan to County Laois for a second time Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Mr. Conor Bergin said: “I’m delighted that one of the best and most important bike races in these islands has chosen to return to County Laois and we look forward to welcoming the riders and officials back to the Slieve Blooms on September 10th.
“Rás na mBan is a fabulous race and the ideal international sports event to showcase the unspoilt beauty of our county to the wider world.
“The Cut, and the Slieve Blooms in general, are popular destinations with bike riders from far and wide and the recent and ongoing development of the Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails is a sign of our commitment to attracting cycle tourism to the county.
“We wish all the competitors, teams and officials the very best for the event and we hope that as many people as possible get out to send them on their way on the 10th.”
In introducing the Slieve Bloom Stage in County Laois, Race Director Valerie Considine said: “We’re delighted to bring our race back to Laois in 2021.
“Our first visit in 2019 was a joy as the beauty of the scenery matched the challenge of the roads and the welcome we got out on the roads was heartwarming.
“After the Pandemic enforced absence of 2020, it’s wonderful to be back racing and we have redesigned this stage to ensure that it can be enjoyed by more people in Laois.
The sight of the large and colourful peloton of international racers riding through Stradbally, Portlaoise and Mountmellick on their way to the big climbs at the end of the stage will be a wonderful occasion.
We have Tokyo Olympians and other national champions in the entry list and Rás na mBan 2021 is shaping up to be one of the best in the history of the race and we look forward to a great battle on the road to The Cut on September 6th.”
STAGE 3 – Friday 10th September
Road Race The Cut – Slieve Blooms 104KM
Friday’s third stage is a brand new ‘Queen’ stage with an epic assault on The Cut in the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Laois which is set to create big gaps between the riders on general classification.
The stage is a daunting 104km slog from Castlecomer through Stradbally, into Portlaoise and on through Mountmellick to Wolftrap Mountain followed by the final ascent to The Cut. The final climb is a 7km ascent with an average gradient of 4.5% and a maximum of 9.8% to a popular viewing point for cyclists and tourists.
Stage 3 Route Map:
Castlecomer (Discovery Park) – Crettyard – Stradbally – Portlaoise – Mountmellick – Rosenallis – Clonaslee – Kinnitty – The Cut
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