For the first time in its 17-year history, Rás na mBan, Ireland’s only women’s international bike stage race, has introduced a Waterford stage to its five-day schedule, which takes place from September 6th to 10th.
The 2023 edition of the race is the 17th under the title of Rás na mBan and the 36th annual international stage race for women in Ireland. In its current format, it runs for five days and six stages totalling over 400km of racing action.
The 102.7km stage of the race will leave Tramore at 12 noon on Saturday, September 9th, and travel through Kilmeaden and Kilmacthomas, on to Dungarvan, before returning along the Copper Coast to the finish line on the Prom in Tramore at approximately 2.40pm.
Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway welcomed Rás na mBan to Waterford saying, “We are delighted that Waterford will feature as a stage for this prestigious international bike race. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase the idyllic, challenging and breath-taking scenery not only to the riders, but to spectators of the world. We are looking forward to welcoming the riders and supporters to Waterford for what is regarded as the premier international women’s stage race.”
The mayor added, “I would particularly like to thank the Rás na mBan committee for including Waterford in the route this year. I’d also like to commend the vision of Waterford City and County Council and its elected representatives in working with the race committee and attracting top class women’s bike racing to the Déise.”
Race Director, Valerie Considine said, “It’s our great pleasure and privilege to bring Rás na mBan to Waterford for the first time. It’s a county with an unrivalled heritage in Irish cycle racing and the route we have selected is among the most beautiful and challenging in the history of the race.
“We’re very grateful to everyone in Waterford City and County Council for their help in making this stage possible and we’re sure that our riders and supporters will enjoy a great day of racing on the Copper Coast. We look forward to seeing fans from all over Waterford and beyond out to support these world class athletes on the race route and at the finish in Tramore.”
Fergus Galvin, Director of Services, Waterford City and County Council commended the race organisers for including a Waterford stage in this year’s race.
“Rás na mBan is undoubtedly a top-class international stage race. The addition of a Waterford stage to the route will give world-class riders from across Europe, the US, Africa and Asia a new demanding route to compete on for the penultimate day. It also provides the opportunity for them to experience one of the country’s most spectacular backdrops, the Copper Coast.”
The 2023 running of the event begins on Wednesday September 6th with six stages taking place over five days.
This year the route offers a variety of challenges from testing hilly stages including the stage four climb of ‘The Cut’ in the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Laois followed by the demanding Tramore stage in County Waterford on the penultimate day to the stage five-time trial on Sunday where riders will ride solo against the watch on the new Kilkenny Castle course.