Riders face tough test in Kerry

COUNTY Kerry will once again host the first major stage race of the Irish Cycle racing calendar in 2011 when the Kerry Group Rás Mumhan takes place over the Easter Weekend from Good Friday, April 22 to Easter Monday April 25.

Following on the success of last year’s production which attracted all the home-based stars of Irish cycling along with a big international contingent, Kerry Group is again lending its support to this four day International Stage race as main sponsor.

And Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs with Kerry Group said they were delighted to besupporting the race which is rated highly among riders preparing for the longer stage races later in the year.

“We are delighted to continue our sponsorship of this premier cycling event which continues to play an essential role in promoting cycle racing in Ireland,” he said. “The success of this competition in both 2009 and 2010 is testament to the hard work and dedication of the local cycling club in Killorglin. It is evident that the Kerry Group Rás Mumhan is held in high esteem among cyclists in Ireland and further afield”.

Race Secretary, Mary Concannon, said the fact that Kerry Group’s association with the event — now entering its third year was very important for the further success and development of the race.

The Kerry Group Rás Mumhan race route for 2011 will once again feature a challenging mountain top stage finish. This year the top of the famous Conor Pass on the Dingle Peninsula has been chosen as the stage 2 finish on Easter Saturday.

Stage 1 on Good Friday will feature a new 103 km stage, starting in Killorglin, on to Killarney, Kilcummin, Gneeveguilla, Scartaglin, Castleisland, Firies, Castlemaine, Milltown and back to finish in Killorglin.

Stage 2 will be a 132 km stage on Easter Saturday in West Kerry. The race will start in Dingle and go West through Ventry, around Slea Head to Ballyferriter, over to Ventry again and back towards Dingle where cyclists will travel left across to Murreigh and Feohanagh. The race will then go back through Dingle, on to Lispole, then Annascaul and at Camp Cross cyclists will turn left to Cloghane and Stradbally, finishing atop of the famous Conor Pass.

Stage 3 on Easter Sunday is the Waterville and Valentia Island stage in South Kerry which has proved to be a huge success over the last few years. The route is the same as last year which starts and finishes in Waterville. The stage takes in Waterville, Cahirciveen, Valentia Island, St Finians Bay, and back to Waterville after a total distance of 142km. Stage 4 on Easter Monday follows the same route as last year with 2 laps of the Fossa, Milltown, Killorglin circuit and then on to finish with 10 laps of the Donal McKenna circuit up the famous Hill in Killorglin town centre each time — a total of 115km.

Clubs, teams or individuals interested in taking part should contact Mary Concannon: Tel: 0035364 44396/00353872802071, maryconcannon@eircom.net.

Meanwhile, Peder Pedersen, a member of both the UCI’s executive and Anti-Doping committees, told a Danish tv programme that he expects three time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador to miss this years event.

The Spaniard tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol during last years race and the case is currently under investigation, with an outcome due next month.

“The information we hold right now suggests that he has committed an offence that triggers a sentence of two years, so I do not think he will race the Tour de France this summer,” said Pedersen.

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