7 May 2024

~7 minutes read

69th Rás Tailteann getting under way next week

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69th Rás Tailteann getting under way next week

The 2024 edition of the Rás Tailteann takes place from Wednesday, May 22nd to Sunday, May 26th. This is the 69th edition of the race and this year, the event will kick off from Tullamore, County Offaly in Ireland’s Midlands, where the first stage finish will be in Kilmallock. This will be the first-ever Rás Tailteann stage to finish in the County Limerick town. The 2024 edition will also have finishes in Sneem, County Kerry on the famous ‘Ring of Kerry’, Cahir, County Tipperary which will see the first finish there since 1967 and Kildare Town, County Kildare with the fifth and final stage of the 2024 Rás Tailteann finishing in Bective, County Meath where the race will take in three laps of a 14.1KM spectator-friendly finishing circuit. 784.8KM of Irish roads awaits this year’s entrants with eighteen categorised climbs over the five stages, including two category one climbs on stages two and four.

Cairde Rás Tailteann is delighted to announce the continued support of Sport Ireland, Cycling Ireland, and The Department of Sport towards Rás Tailteann 2024. For many years, funding from all three bodies has been the lifeline for allowing Rás Tailteann to take place. 2024 brings higher funding from the bodies, and Cairde Rás Tailteann is “Incredibly thankful for the support”, says Race Director Ger Campbell. Campbell added that he was “Delighted to see Rás na mBan’s funding matched with Rás Tailteann for the first time ever. Both Catherine Martin TD and Thomas Byrne TD deserve massive gratitude for their work in ensuring that both events can proceed in 2024”.

Speaking on the support of both Rás Tailteann and Rás na mBan, Cycling Ireland CEO, James Quilligan said “Cycling Ireland is delighted to announce an increase in funding for the 2024 Rás Tailteann and Rás na mBan from the Department of Sport and Sport Ireland. Both races are led by an incredible group of volunteers, and we look forward to working with both as event partners in 2024. The races are among the most important on the Irish calendar and showcase the very best of Irish cycling and have attracted many top international cyclists throughout their storied histories. We’d like to thank Minister Martin, Minster Byrne, The Department of Sport and Sport Ireland’s support of the races”.

Adding to Mr Quilligan’s remarks, Rás Tailteann Race Director, Ger Campbell said “All of us at Cairde Rás Tailteann are thrilled with the announcement of the increase in funding. With the costs involved in promoting the event, it’s a huge boost for the race. It will allow us to plan our budget earlier this year and put in place important structures to make the event even better. ‘The Rás’ is hugely important to Ireland’s sports calendar, and we look forward to the continued success of the event going forward”.

As a token of the race’s huge appreciation for the funding, the blue county rider jersey will again feature the Sport Ireland logo, while all jerseys will feature the Cycling Ireland logo. It is a great source of pride for Cairde Rás Tailteann to showcase their national governing bodies’ logos at an international event.

Cairde Rás Tailteann is delighted to announce two more visiting teams for the 2024 event: the UK-based Moonglu Race Team and Team 05-03, who will both make their debut in the event in 2024. Moonglu Race Team is comprised of six riders based across the North of England, predominantly in Yorkshire. According to team manager, John Reeve, “Our longevity is as important as our growth – we want to build a platform that enables bike riders to realise their potential, affording younger riders the opportunities they deserve – helping them navigate the complex world of racing”. The team is unique in that the riders all contributed to the development and success of the team across logistics, social media, kit design and general development. Team 05-03 is the feeder team to the most successful UCI Continental British team of last year, Saint Piran. Founded in 2022 with the aim of bridging the gap between club-level teams and the Continental level, 05-03 is trying to connect riders from across the UK who have a passion for racing one discipline or another. This is 05-03’s and all the rider’s first time entering the Rás Tailteann.

Stage 1: Tullamore, County Offaly to Kilmallock, County Limerick
(Distance: 148KM)
Wednesday, May 22nd 2024

Tullamore – Birr – Borrisokane – Nenagh – Birdhill – Newport – Caherconlish – Bruff – Kilmallock

The 2024 edition of the race will depart from Tullamore in the heart of the Irish Midlands on Wednesday, 22nd May 2024. Taking in two x category three climbs en route to a first-ever stage finish in Kilmallock, Co Limerick. On paper, this stage does not appear particularly tough, but the ‘BikePark’ category three climb between Birr and Borrisokane will surely cause some early damage. Later in the stage, there is another category three climb at Birdhill. There are a lot of twisty and undulating roads in the latter part of the stage, which could make the day very interesting. As per tradition, there will be three hot spot sprints along the stage to intensify the fight for the race’s first coveted yellow jersey.

Stage 2: Kanturk, County Cork to Sneem, County Kerry
(Distance: 187KM)

Kanturk – Newmarket – Ballydesmond – Castleisland – Killorglin – Waterville – Caherdaniel – Sneem

The race transfers to Kanturk, County Cork, for the start of stage two, which is the hometown of multiple ‘Men of the Rás’ through the years, including our current champion, Dillon Corkery.
What can only be described as an epic and arduous 187KM stage awaits the riders with six categorised climbs including early category three’s at both Scartaglen and Milltown. A further category three strikes at Glencar before the infamous challenge of the category 1 over Ballaghasheen Pass. Later in the stage, the Coomikista category two climb awaits on the ring road towards Sneem.
Once the race enters the finish town, it will pass through the finish line and complete a further 16KM loop, which includes one final category three climb. Stage two will surely be a telling day in the battle for overall honours.

Stage 3: Kenmare, County Kerry to Cahir, County Tipperary
(Distance: 155KM)

Kenmare – Kilgarvan – Glenfesk – Rathmore – Mallow – Doneraile – Mitchelstown – Cahir

The race will transfer to Kenmare for the start of stage three. This stage will bring mostly flat and fast roads with three x category three climbs along the way. On paper, it certainly seems like a day for the sprinters as the Rás Tailteann heads for Cahir, which will host a stage finish for the first time since 1967.

Stage 4: Horse and Jockey, County Tipperary to Kildare Town, County Kildare
(Distance: 139KM)

Horse and Jockey – Urlingford – Ballyragget – Castlecomer – Killeshin – Carlow – Stradbally – Kildangan – Monasterevin – Kildare Town

After a transfer to Horse and Jockey, the early parts of stage four are on mostly flat and fast roads, yet things are sure to heat up after Ballyragget with two category three climbs in quick concession before and after Castlecomer. The category one Gorteen climb is followed by a further two category two climbs on the roads between Castlecomer and Carlow which are sure to split things up at the head of the race. Once the climbing finishes for the day, there’s a relatively flat 60KM run into the finish in Kildare Town. We will have to wait and see if there’s enough time for riders to regroup after the climbs or if someone can spoil the party ahead of the final stage.

Stage 5: Maynooth, County Kildare to Bective, County Meath
(Distance: 156KM including three laps of finishing circuit)

Maynooth – Dunboyne – Ratoath – Ashbourne – Stamullen – Julianstown – Laytown – Drogheda – Donore – Garlow Cross – Bective

Starting from the university town of Maynooth, County Kildare, the final stage mostly passes through the rich pastures of County Meath. The race will make its way from Maynooth across to the East Coast before swinging back inland towards Bective on the banks of the Boyne, where the riders will complete 3 laps of the 14.1KM finishing circuit. There are two category three climbs along the way before a super-fast circuit awaits in Bective for this year’s edition’s final hour of racing, where the 2024 Rás Tailteann winner will get their hands on the famous George Plant trophy.


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