An individual time trial, a circuit race and a hilly final stage are among the challenges for the competitors in An Post Rás na mBan 2014 following the announcement of the route details today.

  • Wild Atlantic Way stage among the highlights
  • Individual Time Trial returns
  • An Post renews as title sponsor

An individual time trial, a circuit race and a hilly final stage are among the challenges for the competitors in An Post Rás na mBan 2014 following the announcement of the route details today.

Ireland’s top international stage race for women will again be based in Ennis County Clare and will take in the sights of Munster’s Atlantic coastline over a total of 427km of racing.

Following on from the successful first venture to County Clare in 2013, the event will once again be based in the county town of Ennis with race HQ the Inn at Dromoland.

The race is once again comprised of six stages in five days running from Wednesday 10th to Sunday 14th September with a variety of stages set to suit the individual characteristics of all road racers..

Teams from USA, UK, France, the Netherlands and Ireland have already confirmed their participation in the ninth running of the event in its current guise and the 28th annual international women’s stage race in Ireland. Detailed team announcements will be made in due course.

Race director Valerie Considine describes this year’s race route as a “logical evolution” of 2013.

I see this as the perfect use of the fabulous roads available to us in County Clare,” says Considine, who takes the reins of Ireland’s top women’s stage race for a ninth consecutive year.

During the winter months the organising committee undertook a forensic analysis of last year’s event and An Post Rás na mBan 2014 is the result.

We surveyed riders, team staff, race organisers, financial partners and local county officials after last year’s event and there was overwhelming support for the direction we took the race in 2013.

Therefore this year’s race has many new challenges for the riders without being a radical change to what was clearly a popular recipe.

If I had to pick out a highlight, I think the stage two Wild Atlantic Way stage has all the hallmarks of an epic. It’s not a pure mountain stage and it’s not totally flat either so it’ll draw the maximum number of riders into the fight.

Added to that, it takes place in truly beautiful surroundings, with the Atlantic ocean and the rugged Clare coast providing the perfect backdrop.

We have fantastic support from a number of businesses and agencies and I’m delighted to announce that An Post will once again be supporting us for the third year in succession as title sponsor of Ireland’s premier women’s stage race.

The support of the national postal carrier has made a huge difference to the development of the race in recent years and we’re very grateful to all in the GPO for their contribution to the event.

Many of our other sponsors have renewed and/or increased their involvement while new supporters have come in to help maintain this event at the level that it is and we’ll be making a number of announcements in the coming months regarding this.

I believe that Rás na mBan is an integral component in the Irish sport calendar, not just Irish cycling and not just women’s cycling. It’s an event that has carved a niche in Irish and world sport and our committee is working very hard to maintain this level so that it continues to perform an important role in the community.”

The route announced today once again includes six stages in five days with Clare County Council once again providing vital support for the event for the second successive year.

The race opens on Wednesday 10th September with a relatively flat 66km opening stage starting at race headquarters, the Inn at Dromoland and finishing in Ennis.

The Wild Atlantic Way second stage is an all new road race of 120kms tracing the Atlantic Coast from Loop Head Lighthouse to Ballyvaughan, a stage that is likely to feature splits in the peloton as the rugged and very beautiful topography asks big questions of the riders.

A short individual time trial returns this year on stage three which is likely to further shake up the classification while stage four on Friday afternoon is a ten-lap, 40km circuit race to suit the sprint specialists.

The penultimate stage is the Beast of the Burren stage, a reworked version of the epic and hugely popular stage which played a big part in the destination of last year’s individual title.

The race concludes with an 88km stage starting at the Inn at Dromoland which will finish again in the centre of Ennis, bringing another week of top international racing in County Clare to a close.

Considine is sure that the route strikes the right balance and offers something for every type of stage race rider.

It’s a varied route that packs every different type of challenge into five days of hard racing,” she says. “I’m satisfied that the winner of An Post Ras na mBan 2014 will be a true stage race all rounder.”