Ras na mBan 2017 - Overall winner and 2016 Olympic Gold medallist Elinor Barker of Great Britain on stage five in Kilkenny
Kilkenny will be on show to the world once again this year, when 120 racers from 17 countries travel here for the country’s biggest competitive cycling event for women.
Rás na mBan will take Kilkenny by storm from September 5 to 9. Taking place across the city and county over five days of action, the event will see athletes cover a distance of 400km throughout six intensive stages.
Once again, top European sports broadcaster Eurosport will broadcast the race and Kilkenny across Ireland, Britain, Australia and Asia into the homes of millions of viewers.
Organisers are hoping that the people of Kilkenny will support the bonanza as some of the world’s best female athletes compete for the coveted sporting title. They are encouraging spectators to join them on the penultimate and final days as the riders storm through Kilkenny City in a race to the finish line on the parade under the shadows of the scenic city.
Other ideal spectator locations include Graignamanagh on September 5 from 17.34pm, Castlecomer on September 6 from 12pm, 12.50pm and 13.50pm, Nine Stones, Mount Leinster on September 7 from 14.40pm. On September 8, Tullaroan on the from 10am-12.13pm and Kilkenny Castle from 6.30pm to 7.20pm. On September 9, catch a final glimpse of the riders at Woodstock Climb, Inistioge from 12.35pm.
“It has been educational hosting this event in a county like Kilkenny," says event PRO Declan Quigley.
"The unwavering support and welcome which we have received from the relevant bodies such as Kilkenny County Council has been instrumental in allowing us to put together a world class event for the participating athletes."
Chairperson of Kilkenny Tourism Naoise Nunn said Rás na mBan is a wonderful addition to the programme of events that Kilkenny hosts throughout the year.
"We are thrilled that some of the world’s best cyclists will be passing through a long list of Kilkenny’s most beautiful and scenic areas such as Bennettsbridge, Gowran, Graignamanagh and Castlecomer and that it will be broadcast not only right across Ireland, but the world," he said.
The 2017 event was won by British Olympian Elinor Barker in what was the biggest and most competitive field in the history of the race. Once again, Kilkenny County Council are supporting Rás na mBan and lending their backing to the coveted 'Best Irish Rider Classification', which was won in emphatic style in 2017 by Eve McCrystal of Garda Cycling Club.
For route details for the 2018 edition, stage outlines and spectators’ tips on attending the event will be announced in due course on www.rasnamban.com.