CYCLING | Louth Cuchulainn team safely finish the An Post Rás
Dolan finishes as ninth county rider
After eight days of hard racing, 1,200km and 21 categorised races, this year’s An Post Rás concluded in Skerries on Sunday last.
The Louth Cuchulainn team of Alan Gray, Liam Dolan, John Fitzpatrick and Ray O’Shaughnessy all safely completed the event.
Misfortune did hit the team on Stage One from Dublin to Longford when Alan came down in a crash and broke a finger. However a splint, some tape and a modified glove saw him impressively soldier on.
A consultation with the race doctor at the end of the stage concluded that if Alan could handle the pain he could continue. Stopping never crossed his mind.
The hardest days of the race were Stages Four through Six which were raced through the hills of Donegal. Searing heat and the constant barrage of steep hills made the racing extremely tough. The climbs of the Mamore Gap and the Glengesh Pass were especially challenging.
Stage Seven to Ardee, which was a homecoming of sorts for the Louth team, was a total wash out with the rain falling from start to finish. However, this didn’t impact the racing and the 167 km from Donegal town to Ardee had an average speed of just over 49 kph.
The winner was England’s James Gullen of the JLT Pro Cycling Team with the highest placed Irish rider finished in fifth place.
Liam was the highest placed of the Cuchulainn team in 48th overall and ninth county rider. For Alan and Ray, it was their third completed Rás event while it was John’s first attempt at the iconic event.