Rás na mBan international cycle race is getting set to visit county Laois for the first time this year when top international riders from all over the world head to The Cut in the Slieve Blooms on Friday, September 6th.
Riders in the 14th edition of Ireland’s top international stage race will be competing on stage three of the five-day, six stage event, when they ride into county Laois and on to the final climb in the picturesque Slieve Bloom Mountains.
The 2019 edition of the event, which was won last year by French woman Coralie Demay starts on Wednesday the 4th of September and the 111km third stage of this year's event in county Laois is set to be one of the most important in deciding who wins overall.
The riders will depart Kilkenny destined for Laois with two tough climbs in the final 37km which are sure to force splits in the peloton.
The climb of Wolftrap Mountain will sap the riders' energy before the final 7.5km assault on The Cut, a popular destination in Irish cycling history.
The riders will have little time to enjoy the spectacular scenery as they power up the final climb to the finish line where the final result is likely to have a significant impact on the overall classification.
The images of the landmark stage will be filmed for a highlights TV show to be broadcast on Eurosport in the weeks following the event.
Riders from thirteen nations representing twenty-one teams are already confirmed for Rás na mBan 2019 where they will do battle over five days and six separate stages to secure the overall title.
In welcoming Rás na mBan to county Laois Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Mr. Willie Aird said: “I’m delighted that one of the best and most important bike races in these islands has chosen to visit County Laois and we look forward to welcoming the riders and officials to the Slieve Blooms on September 6th.
"Rás na mBan is a fabulous race and the ideal international sports event to showcase the unspoilt beauty of our county to the wider world.
"The Cut, and the Slieve Blooms in general, are popular destinations with bike riders from far and wide and the recent and ongoing development of the Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails is a sign of our commitment to attracting cycle tourism to the county.
"We wish all the competitors, teams and officials the very best for the event and we hope that as many people as possible get out to send them on their way on the 6th.
In introducing the Slieve Bloom Stage in County Laois, race director Valerie Considine said: “We’re delighted to bring our race to a beautiful new destination in 2019.
“When we were scouting for new locations, the beauty of the scenery matched the challenge of the roads and the welcome we have already been afforded by the key stakeholders in County Laois has been heartwarming.
"The 2019 edition of Rás na mBan is already shaping up to be one of the best in the history of Irish women's bike racing and we look forward to a great battle on the road to The Cut on September 6th.”