Navan Road Club have entered a strong 6 man team for the upcoming Rás Mumhan, one of the premier cycling events in Ireland.
Run by Killorglin Credit Union Cycling Club, it takes place in Cork and Kerry over the Easter weekend. With Killorglin as its base, it passes through some of the most stunning scenery in Kerry and from the cyclists’ point of view, some of the most demanding terrain.
Mr. Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs, Kerry Group, said: “Kerry Group is delighted to continue sponsorship of this top class international event.”
He added: “Kerry Group Rás Mumhan is now recognised both home and abroad as one of the top competitive stage races in Ireland & Britain.”
Team manager P.J. Nolan has many years of experience at stage races at home and abroad, and is looking forward to the challenge. “This will be a tough four consecutive days of racing against strong international opposition. Our riders will be aiming to gain experience at this level, and use it as a proving ground for the An Post Rás in May.”
Two members of the Navan team, Keith Walls and John Murray, have completed this race previously, with Walls also having completed the An Post Rás.
John Kenny, competing in this race for the first time, will be confident of a good performance. Probably the strongest member of the team, John is well used to long gruelling races, and is regularly seen competing with the very best opposition every weekend.
In his debut stage race, the An Post Gorey 3 Day in 2012, Kenny put in an excellent performance, winning the time-trial stage, and holding the green points classification jersey for a stage.
Stephen Byrne, an A2 rider has had a great start to the season, finishing in the prizes in a number of early races.
The remaining two riders are Niall Doggett, fresh from a training camp in Spain, and Simon O’Dea. While O’Dea has suffered with illness recently, he has been catching up on his training by riding to and from many of his weekend races.
Team Manager Nolan says: “They’re all good lads, I hope they all finish! Riding a stage race is very different to a one-day race, and the first priority is to conserve energy. This race will help to get their bodies in the right condition to be considered for the An Post Ras”
The Navan team will compete with a number of international teams from Britain, France, Netherlands, as well an Irish national. All of the top domestic teams will also compete such as Aquablue, UCD and the Liquidworx team, which includes Chris Reilly from Bohermeen.
The race starts on Good Friday with the usual 105km stage in Mid and East Kerry. Saturday is a big one for the climbers with a new 144km route, taking the race from Kenmare to West Cork and back again to Kenmare. This stage includes the climb to the Healy Pass.
The roads of South Kerry beckon on Easter Sunday for the Queen stage which takes the riders on a 142km series of loops and climbs including Valentia Island and finishing in Waterville.
Monday is a flat 117km stage in Killorglin, taking in the lap around Beaufort 3 times before the Grand Finale of 10 shorter laps – including the famous hill in Killorglin on each lap.
Altogether the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan accounts for a grand total of 508km and 24 categorized climbs.
A number of other stage races will be taking place over the Easter weekend. Declan Byrne will again compete at the 4-day Tour of the North International, while Andrew McGuinness, James Lynch and Pat Doocey will represent Navan at the An Post Gorey 3 Day.