CYCLING | Louth Cuchulainn team at the halfway stage of this year’s An Post Rás
Dolan tucked in nicely in county rider category
The Louth Cuchulainn Cycling team have reached the halfway stage of this year’s An Post Rás with Liam Dolan tucked in nicely behind the 10 leading cyclists in the overall county section.
Joining Dolan on the Louth team is Alan Gray, Ray O’Shaughnessy and Cavan man John Fitzpatrick. An injury in the Tour of Ulster put paid to Ardee cyclist Tomas McCabe’s participation in the event.
The team is managed by John Wall while Ray Fedigan, owner of The Bike Station, is accompanying the team to ensure that all equipment is working smoothly. Rosena Lynch, Muireann Harte and Anthony Fox complete the travelling Louth party.
Stage four — Bundoran to Buncrana — took place today (Wednesday) with Dolan and O’Shaughnessy finishing in a magnificent time of 3:25.57, just five minutes behind winner Chris McGlinchey (3:20.15).
Gray, who has been wrestling with a broken finger sustained on stage one from Dublin to Longford last Sunday, also finished in an impressive time of 3:35.06 while Fitzpatrick, a Rás debutant, acquitted himself well in a time of 3:35.46.
Dolan, who is competing in his fourth Rás, has been keeping a record of his experience in a daily blog on www.thebikestation.ie and writing about Tuesday’s stage three, a 149km trek from Newport to Bundoran, he gave an insight into how gruelling the event can be.
“Today we hit very small roads from the gun and it was nervy and fast. Getting to the front is so difficult, more so the concentration required to be up there is immense.
“Switch off for a second and you lose 40 places. I got caught behind a bad crash today and required a five-minute flat out effort to get back to the bunch.
“We then did 10km flat to the mat with a tailwind which almost pulled the break right back. However, they weren’t caught and the pace really stalled again.
“Even when the bunch is going easy, something is always happening. Out of the blue, I saw a guy hit the road hard as he swerved to avoid a cat’s eye. I was right behind him and lucky to stay upright.”
Stage five takes place tomorrow and will see the riders tackle 185km from Buncrana to Dungloe with three categorised climbs en route.
The race leaves Donegal on stage seven and makes the 167km journey to Co Louth with a first ever stage finish in Ardee. This route will feature roads well known to the Louth team.
The Rás race finishes the next day with the traditional circuits in Skerries which involves multiple ascents of the steep Black Hills.
You can read Liam Dolan’s An Post Rás blog over at The Bike Station’s website while The Bike Station is also providing updates on their Twitter account.