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MORE CYCLING : Sundry Items Last Updated: Sep 3, 2017 - 8:02:28 PM

Race Around Ireland 2017 - Report and Results
By Georgie Francis
Sep 1, 2017,

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RAI 2017 Day 5 Update - Reist Becomes First Woman to Win Race Around Ireland

Nicole Reist of Switzerland wins the Race Around Ireland - Photo: Georgie Francis
Cruising into Moynalty as if on a morning spin before work, Swiss dynamo Nicole Reist completed her history making assault on Race Around Ireland in record time and immediately paid tribute to her support crew.

The 33-year-old from Winterthur near Zurich duly confirmed her dominance over Europe’s toughest annual bike race in finishing her 2153km almost non-stop ride around Ireland, her nearest challenger and leader of the men’s category still more than 12 hours away in County Wexford as she accepted the victory plaudits.

In becoming the first woman to win Race Around Ireland overall, Reist also smashed the women’s record set by her compatriot Isabelle Pulver last year.

Reist took 112hrs and 21mins to complete her epic journey, during which she rested for just four hours in total. Her average speed of 19.71kmh was the eighth fastest in the history of the event and puts her into an exclusive club of women who have won an endurance bike race racing on equal terms with men.

Her first act on crossing the line was to present the support crew medals to her long-suffering team of six who followed her every pedal stroke since she left Trim Castle last Sunday afternoon.

Her anti-clockwise route around the edge of Ireland included countless hills and the tough grippy roads from Donegal to Kerry via the Wild Atlantic Way and through some of the toughest hills in Wicklow on the final night.

Far from collapsing on the finish line, Reist, who won the TorTour ultra-cycling event in Austria just a week before she journeyed to Ireland, hugged and laughed with crew and fans before mounting the podium to collect her medal and trophy.

The reigning champion of Race Across America has now added the Race Around Ireland title to her CV which includes most of the top ultra-cycling events in the world.

“The scenery, the people, the fans out on road and my crew,” she said succinctly, when asked to name her favourite things about her first visit to Race Around Ireland. And the toughest challenge? “The lack of sleep!”

Reist can enjoy a well-earned rest now and will recuperate before resuming training for next year’s Race Across America. In the meantime she can reflect on a performance of metronomic consistency and athletic prowess that will surely prove an inspiration to cyclists of any discipline the world over.

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RAI 2017 Day 4 Update - Reist Consolidates as Zamboni Advances

Nicole Reist has extended her advantage at the head of the Solo category in Race Around Ireland as former champion Valerio Zamboni moved from fourth to second on day four of Ireland’s toughest bike race.

As darkness descended over Munster, Reist was racing towards Kinsale in County Cork with her nearest rival Zamboni leaving Kenmare in neighbouring Kerry.

Zamboni’s deficit to Reist is just nine kilometres more than it was on Tuesday night but, while he and Reist have remained consistent, Henk Verouden and Pat Doocey have slipped back a little in the standings.

After his stop at the end of the section at Sneem Hotel, Verouden raced with renewed vigour and was just four kilometres behind Zamboni as nightfall approached.

Yorkshireman John Musgrove powered through the arduous hills in Kerry across Section 14 of the route, showing few symptoms of the length of time in the saddle on some of Ireland’s toughest cycling terrain to briefly head Verouden.

He, like many, chose Sneem Hotel for a rest stop and was fourth, still ahead of Erikur Ingi Johansson and Doocey.

Meanwhile, already home for a well earned rest are the leading teams led by Four-Person winners Team Aspect.

The quartet of Pat Maher, John Dowd, Seamus Nash and Cathal Philips from Deenside Wheelers in County Kilkenny arrived in Moynalty with an eventual finishing time of 71hours and 43minutes with the next three squads on the road teams running close together more than 30km behind the winners.

Maher, Dowd and Nash were on the Teac Tom team that finished eighth in last year’s four-person class and shaved almost eight hours off their finishing time from 2016 this time round.

There was no stopping Team Aspect who, despite their relatively narrow final advantage led for almost the entire event which began in Trim, County Meath on Sunday afternoon.

It was the fourth fastest time in Race Around Ireland history and eclipsed last year’s winning time by three and a half hours.

Team Aspect were the first racers home from all classes in Race Around Ireland following the arrival of the riders in the shorter Irish Ultra Challenge race yesterday.

Following them across the line were second placed 4-person team The Ninety Niners who overcame a time penalty to scoop runner up spot.

The Navan Road Club derived team of Paul Kelly, Simon O’Dea, Michael Mills and Stephen O’Halloran were rarely more than a few kilometres ahead of St Tiernan’s CC and Team Veloroos on the road throughout the race.

St Tiernan’s made it a second podium in a row having finished second last year when Ciaran Ruane, Lawrence Clifford and Daragh O’Toole were also in their lineup. Joined this year by Dermot Doherty.

The Australian Veloroos team (with Irish influence) were fourth overall among the four-rider teams and set a new RAI record for women’s fours.

Team Outmates won the eight-person category with an average speed of 29.00kmh from Moynalty CC (28.88kmh) and Team CAS (28.79).

The winning line up of Peter Doyle, Francis Rogers, Mark Kennedy, Arthur Schmid, Al le Gear, John Battels, Barra Dineen and Shane Tunney arrived in Moynalty just under 19 minutes ahead of the local team.

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RAI 2017 Day 3 Final Update - Jason Black Wins Irish Ultra Challenge

Jason Black, winner of the Irish Ultra Challenge 2017, surrounded by his support crew on the podium in Moynalty, Meath today.

Donegal’s Jason Black has taken victory in the Irish Ultra Challenge, the 1100km race that runs in conjunction with Race Around Ireland.

The noted adventure sportsman, who counts successful ascents of Mount Everest and K2 among his personal achievements won the fifth edition of the Ultra Challenge when rode into Moynalty, County Meath 50 hours and 51 minutes after he left the neighbouring town of Trim on Sunday afternoon.

Black’s average speed of 22.2kmh was more than four kilometres per hour faster than the previous record held by Meath’s Pat Doocey, the latter-named currently lying fourth in the 2,168km Race Around Ireland which is due to end later in the end week.

As he crossed the line to complete his epic journey around the coastline of the top half of the island, Black was more than 56km in front of John McCormack and holding almost 80km advantage over third placed Renzo Cherazzi of Italy.

For Black it was a personal vindication having failed to complete last year’s Race Around Ireland within the time limit. He returned this year to the Ultra Challenge a wiser and better-prepared athlete and was never headed throughout his dominant two days of racing.

"This is an amazing event and the route is so challenging," said Black as he stepped from his bike in Moynalty. "I'm delighted to be able to come back to this event after last year and I'd like to pay tribute to my amazing crew and crew chief for their support.

"I learnt a huge amount in not finishing last year's Race Around Ireland and I came back this year with a new strategy, new training and new approach on nutrition.

"It all came together and I'm thrilled to do so well and to set a new record in the Irish Ultra Challenge."


Nicole Reist, Switzerland, leaving Oranmore, County Galway on day three of Race Around Ireland, Tuesday 29th August - Photo: Georgie Francis
Reist in Command

Nicole Reist has stretched her advantage in the solo competition as the leading Race Around Ireland solo racers head through Munster on their third day of non-stop racing.

The Swiss engineer and RAAM champion was already inside the County Kerry border as dusk fell on Tuesday evening with the leading male rider Henk Verouden of the Netherlands making his way out of Ennis, County Clare some 102km behind.

Verouden, in turn, enjoyed almost 60km advantage over third place rider, Yorkshireman John Musgrove in Ireland's toughest bike race.

Former winner Valerio Zamboni and Pat Doocey were locked in a titanic scrap for fourth, the pair rarely separated by more than a kilometre as they worked their way down through the Wild Atlantic Way.

Meanwhile, several counties further ahead in Midleton, County Cork, Team Aspect were the leading riders in the event and beginning to draw clear in an amazing battle for honours among the four-person teams.

The had edged 35km clear of the second squad on the road, Team Veloroos of Australia, still a relatively small advantage in the epic world of ultra cycling.

Veloroos, the leading women's team, were mere minutes ahead of Team Ninety-Nine from Meath and the St Tiernan's team from Dublin, those three squads covered by less than two kilometres on the road as they worked their way through Cork City.

With over 500km still remaining for the leading teams,
and time penalties to be taken into account, it's too close to call in one of the most thrilling contests in Race Around Ireland history.

Irish-Swiss combo Team Outmates controlled a 38km lead over Moynalty CC in the eight-rider team list as the riders switched on their lights and settled in for a third consecutive night in the saddle while Team Mick Ted enjoyed a near 100km lead over Team Aldo in the two-person match race.

With the rugged hills of Kerry awaiting for the solo riders and many of the teams, not to mention the arduous winch up the precipice of St Patrick's Hill in County Cork, there are still many challenges left in Race Around Ireland.

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RAI 2017 Day 2 Update - Reist in Control

Nicole Reist, Switzerland, at the start of Race Around Ireland in Trim, County Meath - Photo: Ronnie Russell

As the light began to fade on day two of Race Around Ireland, Nicole Reist held the lead in the solo class of Ireland’s toughest bike race.

Riding without sleep and virtually non-stop for 28 hours save two short interludes to change support crew, the Swiss rider stretched her lead over Dutchman Henk Verouden to almost an hour by the time the latter had left time station five at Lifford in County Donegal with former champion Valerio Zamboni in a secure third place.

Reist continued to press home her advantage as the riders moved through Leitrim into Sligo as the first mist and rain of the ninth edition of Race Around Ireland fell on the riders. Headwind for much of the ride through Ulster had also taken its toll but still the leading riders pushed on into the night.

As dusk approached, Reist was controlling a lead of almost 30km over Verouden as leading Irishman Pat Doocey moved into a podium spot ahead of Zamboni.

Meanwhile, further ahead, the leading competitors on the road were the four-man crew of Team Aspect who enjoyed a half hour lead over St Tiernan’s CC who were locked in combat with Veloroos. The latter named team had recovered from a brief off route excursion in Donegal and are well on course for a new record time for a four-woman squad.

Leading eight-rider team Team Outmates had stretched their lead to almost an hour and a half over Meath Fireblazers as the teams left Castlebar heading for Galway and the epic delights of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Last rider on the road Dan Fallon, the popular psychiatrist from Chicago, was forced to retire as evening approached on day two. The popular psychiatrist was bidding to become the first rider of a recumbent to complete Race Around Ireland. Fallon, a vertean of US Ultra Cycling, won many friends on his first acquaintance with the world of Irish ultra cycling.

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Australian squad, The Veloroos, roll off the start ramp in Trim - Photo: Ronnie Russell

RAI 2017 Day 1 Update - Zamboni Leads the Way

Former champion Valerio Zamboni (Monaco) led the way as midnight approached on the first day of Race Around Ireland.

The 2011 race winner and multi World Cup champion had completed 191km in his first seven hours of racing for an average speed of 26.5kmh and as Sunday night gave way to Monday morning was approaching Ballymena in County Antrim.

The veteran ultra cyclist was just under 1kmh faster than Henk Verouden of the Netherlands with Brian Fitzpatrick of Ireland third some 10km behind Zamboni.

Iceland’s Eiríkur Ingi Jóhannsson and Joaquin Dominguez of Spain were battling for fourth with Dominguez slightly ahead after seven hours of racing. The sole solo woman competitor Nicole Reist of Switzerland was third fastest of the solo riders holding a steady average speed of over 25kmh heading for the northern coast and the challenges to come in Donegal.

Fastest team in the event over night were the Meath Fireblazers eight-man crew averaging 35.3kmh while the Wild Atlantic Warriors held a tiny lead in a terrific three way scrap for honours among the four-man teams.

The four rider VeloRoos women’s team from Australia were over 75km ahead of the Galway Baybes after half a day of racing with both squads ahead of the record four-women race record.

Team Aldo Racing from Canada enjoyed a comfortable over Team MickTed in the two-rider match while at the tail of the field the inspirational Dan Fallon continued in his bid to become the first recumbent rider to complete Race Around Ireland.

NOTE: All times unofficial and subject to change.

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About Race Around Ireland:

On Sunday 27th of August 2017, cyclists from all over the world will line up in Trim, County Meath, to take on the ninth Race Around Ireland and the Irish Ultra Challenge.

Race Around Ireland is regarded as one of the toughest cycling challenges in the world and will take the racers on a 2,151km journey past some of the most stunning scenery in Ireland. The route takes in Newgrange, The Causeway Coast, Malin Head, The Cliffs of Moher, The Ring of Kerry, Mizen Head, the Garden County (Wicklow) and back to Moynalty in County Meath and ALL within a week.

The Irish Ultra Challenge is a 1,100km race and is seen as being the perfect stepping-stone into the world of ultra-cycling. Solo riders have 68 hours to finish. There is no team devision in the Irish Ultra Challenge.

For more information, please visit: www.racearoundireland.com



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