Ardara hosts Rás Dhun na nGall this weekend

Ras Donegal


One of Ulster's most prestigious stage races, Rás Dhun na nGall, takes place this weekend based in Ardara, Co Donegal.

The event is promoted by Four Masters Cycling Club, Donegal's oldest cycling club. The stage race consists of three road race stages and a time trial and is only open to A2 and A3 riders.

A total of one hundred and fifty riders have entered this race and Ardara will be buzzing with riders and their supporters over the weekend.

The first stage is often under-estimated by those new to the race and many a rider has lost valuable time by doing so. Normally the race goes from the gun on Friday night and although it is only a thirty mile stage it has two categorised climbs. The route for Friday takes riders from Ardara to Frosses, Inver, Bogagh and back to Ardara.

On Saturday morning there is a 2.6 mile time trial over a very hilly course. Then it is onto the aftenoon's fifty seven mile stage in which the riders will do three laps of the circuit which takes in Ardara, Glenties, Clooney and Ardara.

Sunday's stage is sixty miles of hard racing from Ardara to Ardaghey, Narin and Glenties before the final leg back into Ardara to head for the infamous climb of Glengesh where the race will finish at the top.

There is a top quality field for this year's event with Ulster riders such as Armagh's Kevin McKinney riding for Velo Café Magasin, Jonathan Dooey of Dunloy CC and Marc Heaney of the Cycling Ulster squad all riding well at the minute. Missing from the line up is a team from the Nicholas Roche outfit but some of the riders are guesting for other teams. Jake Grey and Aaron Kearney will be sporting the Errigal CC colours and they could be strong contenders for the overall win.

Scott Orwell Wheelers have entered three women in this year's event. These are Michelle Geoghan, Beth McCloskey and Emily Brick.

If the current hot spell continues spectators will have a wonderful time while the riders toast. But come rain or shine there is always a warm Donegal welcome from Four Masters CC, The Nesbitt Arms Hotel and the Ardara Traders who sponsor the event.

Keep up to date with the event all weekend on facebook #rasdonegal2016

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: 3.30pm
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