Ras Dhun na nGall 3- day cycle race returns to south- west Donegal

With club cycling very visible around Donegal and local riders becoming well known, the showpiece Ras Dhun na nGall is taking to the roads around Ardara over the coming weekend. Sponsored by the Nesbitt Arms Hotel and the Ardara Town Traders, this exciting and colorful stage race will see 150 of the country’s best young riders take on some of Ireland’s most difficult cycling terrain. Riders from the Four Masters CC, Errigal CC, AAA Cycling, Strabane- Lifford CC and Tir Chonaill Gap CC will race against some of the top up- and- coming riders hoping to make the Ireland team, as well as established riders competing for the love of the sport. Ras donegal 15 1

The race has always been an important stepping stone for riders with ambitions of going to the highest levels of the sport, and several of our previous competitors have gone on to win big races all over Ireland, Britain and Europe.

The 2016 Ras Dhun na nGall takes to the roads this coming Friday evening, leaving Ardara and heading through Kilraine, Frosses, Ardaghey and returning to Ardara via Kilraine. This stage will be short, fast and more than likely will end in a big bunch sprint at the Hillhead in Ardara, with the heaving bunch hitting in excess of 40mph in the race to the line.

Saturday morning sees the riders leave the Diamond in Ardara for a time- trial, which while short, will see the maximum effort from each rider as time lost or gained here may prove to be critical to the overall result of the race. Each rider will ride flat out uphill for two and a half miles, and the fastest riders will cover the distance in around eight minutes. After a short recovery period, the riders leave Ardara again in the afternoon on a 57-mile stage that takes them on three laps of the Ardara- Glenties- Kilclooney circuit to finish at the school in Ardara. Each lap will take around 45 minutes so it will be a very spectator- friendly stage.

The final stage, at lunchtime on Sunday, is by far the most difficult as the riders race from Ardara through Ardaghey, Frosses, Glenties, Clooney and Ardara again before finishing on the famous Glengesh Pass. Glengesh is known throughout Irish cycling circles as being one of the most difficult climbs in the country, friendly for spectators but much less so for the cyclists themselves at the end of three hard days of racing. While the overall winner will take the plaudits on Sunday evening in Ardara, all the riders will be content in the knowledge that they will have just completed one of the hardest races in Irish cycling.   ras donegal 15 2

The racing will be hard and fast for the entire weekend, and while some traffic delays may take place in the south west of the county over the weekend, the public has always been hugely supportive of the race, and the riders appreciate the courtesy and appreciation shown to them by all along the route.

Pix M Lamb.

 Approximate time schedules:

Friday 3rd June: Stage 1
Depart Ardara:  7.30pm
Kilraine:   7.45
Frosses:   8.11
Ardaghey:   8.19
Kilraine:   8.47
Arrive Ardara   9.00pm

Saturday 4th June: Stage 2
First rider starts Ardara: 9.01am
Last rider finishes:  12.20pm

Stage 3:
Depart Ardara:  3.30p
Glenties 1st passage:  3.49
Clooney 1st passage:  4.06
Ardara 1st passage:  4.24
Glenties 2nd passage:  4.38
Clooney 2nd passage:  4.55
Ardara 2nd passage:  5.13
Glenties 3rd passage:  5.27
Clooney 3rd passage:  5.44
Finish Ardara:   6.02pm

Sunday 5th June: Stage 4
Depart Ardara:  12.00noon
Ardaghey:   12.30
Frosses:   12.37
Glenties:   1.08
Clooney:   1.25
Ardara 1st passage:  1.40
Ardara 2nd passage:  2.21
Finish Glengesh:  2.37pm