Details of the third stage of Rás na mBan which takes place in County Laois were presented at a function in Bloom HQ, Mountrath recently.

The 102.5km stage of Ireland’s top international stage cycle race for women takes place entirely in County Laois on Friday September 8th when a peloton of riders from all over the world will start from Portlaoise and make their way via The Cut in the Slieve Bloom mountains to the finish line in Mountrath.

It’s the first time in four visits to Laois that Rás na mBan will have a finish in the bustling market town of Mountrath which will actually play host to the riders twice. The riders will cross the finish line and head out for another loop around the county before finishing stage 3 at around lunchtime on the 8th September.

Pictured at the launch in Bloom HQ, Mountrath, were: Cllr. Ollie Clooney, Clr. Paschal McEvoy (Cathaoirleach), Jenny Neenan – front (UCD CC), Elaine Moore (Laois Co Council), Cllr. James Kelly and Valerie Considine (Race Director) . Photo: Michael Scully.

Celebrating the news, Cathaoirleach Paschal McEvoy of Laois County Council promised a big welcome for the riders.

“Rás na mBan is now firmly established as one of the most important annual international women’s sports events in the country,” he said  “It is an honour for the County to welcome this international field of women cyclists to Laois and Mountrath.

“We’re certain that the riders and spectators are going to love the race challenge and the beautiful scenery of County Laois.

Joining him on stage at Bloom HQ, just metres from the finish line of September’s Laois stage, was Cllr. James Kelly of Laois County Council, a proud Mountrath representative looking forward to the arrival of top bike racers from all over the world.

“We in Mountrath are really delighted that the organisers have picked the town for the finish of stage three. We know how much this is going to mean to the people of Mountrath to have such a prestigious field of international riders and for them to not only come through Mountrath once, but twice.

“And we will commit to getting the crowds out because I know what it will mean to the riders

The hard slog they’ll have all day, every stage they do. I know what it means that there’s a crowd out there that just gives them that extra boost to get them going again.”

Pictured in Bloom HQ, Mountrath were: Garda Mick O’Connell (Portlaoise), Cllr. Paschal McEvoy (Cathaoirleach), Jenny Neenan – front ( UCD CC), Elaine Moore (Laois Co Council), Valerie Considine (Race Director) and Garda Barry Moran (Mountrath). Photo: Michael Scully.

Rás na mBan Race Director Valerie Considine paid tribute to the enthusiastic welcome the race traditionally receives in Laois and the cooperation from Laois County Council and the Garda.

“We always get a great welcome in Laois and we’re really grateful for the continuing support of Laois County Council and the Garda without whom the event would not be possible.

“The riders all love the challenge of the Slieve Blooms and it will be really exciting to bring top international racers to the finish of stage three in Mountrath where we have already been made particularly welcome.”