On yer bike lads!

FORMER Kilkenny hurling stars, Eddie Brennan, Derek Lyng and James McGarry have signed up to take part in or support The Rás charity cycle. This is the second year of the race.

FORMER Kilkenny hurling stars, Eddie Brennan, Derek Lyng and James McGarry have signed up to take part in or support The Rás charity cycle. This is the second year of the race.

Almost 150 amateur cyclists and a host of current and former GAA stars will bike across Ireland from May 20 to 27. All the money raised will go to the National Breast Cancer Research Institute and Aware. The Rás is sponsored by Tesco Ireland and supported by AIB, Elvery’s and Renault amongst others.

The cyclists will start three hours ahead of the professionals each morning and will travel through 13 different counties, with stage finishes in Kilkenny, Gort, Westport, Bundoran, Buncrana, Killybegs, Cootehill and Skerries on the final day.

Already confirmed starters are three-time All-Star, Eddie Brennan, Derek Lyng and James McGarry (Kilkenny) along with Willie Joe Padden, John Maughan (Mayo), Ollie Canning and Sean O Domhnaill (Galway) and rugby legend Mick Galwey.

Eddie Brennan, who will take part for the first times, said it was a serious undertaking.

“Each of the eight stages averages 146kms in length - 1,168kms in total - and will take over five and a half hours to complete, so the eight-day cyclists will be on the bike for almost 50 hours in total,” he noted.

Former Munster rugby captain, Mick Galwey said: “Race the Rás is such a unique charity initiative. I was involved last year in the race and raising so much money meant that all the hard work most definitely paid off. We hope to raise as much as possible for two very worthy causes.”

To register for the cycle, people can log on to http://racetheras.com/event-registration/. With eight stages to choose from, cyclists can opt to do them all or a single stage or a combination. Those wishing to donate can do so by visiting www.racetheras.com/donate.

The Rás is an international cycling event dating back to 1952 covering 1200km over eight consecutive days. Race the Rás began in 2011 to raise much needed funds for charity by allowing sponsored amateur cyclists to ride the same route of the Rás, on the same day as the Rás itself, except the amateurs start a few hours a head of the pros.

By registering for the event commit to donating a minimum amount of sponsorship for the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) and Aware. This is payable anytime before May 20.

The stages - 1, Dunboyne to Kilkenny, May 20 – 147klm; 2, Kilkenny to Gort, May 21 - 158klm; 3, Gort to Westport, May 22 - 145klm; 4, Westport to Bundoran, May 23 - 135klm; 5, Bundoran to Buncrana, May 24 - 149klm; 6, Buncrana to Killybegs, May 25 - 134klm; 7, Donegal Town to Cootehill, May 26 - 161klm; 8, Cootehill to Skerries, May 27 - 139klm.