PROGRESSIVELY TOUGHER FBD RÁS ROUTE WILL GUARANTEE DRAMATIC BATTLE
“Not A Bother Says Gill”
What is arguably the toughest FBD Rás route for many years has been announced today, and will see the riders cover 1219 difficult kilometres between the start in Dunboyne and the finish in Skerries. Running from May 23rd to 30th, the world-ranked race will subject the riders to 24 categorised climbs, including one summit finish on Seskin Hill in Carrick on Suir, and will feature a strong international and domestic field.
|Race Director Dermot Dignam|
“I think that this year is going to be the toughest in quite a while. It is going to be a good all rounder who will win out,” says race director Dermot Dignam. “It gets progressively harder as the days pass, with the first two stages suited to bunch sprints, the following ones likely to see breakaway groups stay clear, and then the climbers coming increasingly to the fore.
“It means that the final outcome should be in question right up until the end of the race, prolonging the suspense and making for a superb contest.”
The race will begin on Sunday May 23rd with a mainly flat 149 kilometre stage from Dunboyne to Dundalk, which features three Hot Spot Sprints (with important time bonuses), plus the categorised climbs of Slane and the Long Woman’s Grave in the Cooley Mountains.
Day two travels 155 kilometres to Carrick on Shannon and, despite the inclusion of the second category Bellavalley Gap some 45 kilometres from the finish, is also expected to see a big bunch sprint.
Stages three and four head to Oughterard and Tipperary, and are the longest of the race at 171 and 169 kilometres respectively. Dignam feels that heavy roads plus a total of four categorised ascents could enable breakaway groups to stay clear.
The most difficult finish of this year’s race follows on Thursday May 27th, with the 157 kilometre stage concluding at the summit of the category one climb of Seskin Hill. Sizeable gaps will begin to open in the general classification, and the overall standings are likely to be shaken up once again 24 hours later when the riders cover seven categorised climbs and 127 kilometres en route to Gorey.
The penultimate stage is another one for the uphill specialists, with some of the toughest roads in Wicklow taking the riders past the Shay Elliott memorial at Drumgoff and over the Wicklow Gap. Two more climbs follow before the finish in Kilcullen, making it a day of dynamic racing, certain aggression and one of great danger for the race leader.
The race then concludes on Sunday May 30th in Skerries, with the seaside town’s usual huge crowds expected to turn up and hail the winner after 140 kilometres of flat-out racing. Four category three ascents keep the outcome up in the air right until the final sprint.
“The last couple of stages of the FBD RÁS are going to play a huge part in the final outcome of the race,” promises Dignam. “Last year there were one or two comments from riders that the second and third last stages weren’t hard enough and didn’t give them an opportunity to attack the race leader. That certainly won’t be able to be said about this year’s final few stages”.
“The route should make for a very exciting race, and so too the field that will be taking part. There are some very interesting teams lined up, and we will be giving out details about these in the weeks ahead.”
The 2010 FBD Insurance RÁS will once again be sponsored by FBD Insurance and the Irish Sports Council, and is classified as a 2.2 event in cycling’s world rankings.
Stage 1, May 23rd, Dunboyne – Dundalk, 149 kilometres
Stage 2, May 24th, Dundalk – Carrick On Shannon, 155 kilometres
Stage 3, May 25th, Carrick On Shannon – Oughterard, 171 kilometres
Stage 4, May 26th, Oughterard – Tipperary, 169 kilometres
Stage 5, May 27th, Tipperary – Carrick On Suir, 175 kilometres
Stage 6, May 28th, Carrick On Suir – Gorey, 127 kilometres
Stage 7, May 29th, Gorey – Kilcullen, 154 kilometres
Stage 8, May 30th, Kilcullen – Skerries, 140 kilometres