Declan Quigley, Head of Communications, Rás na mBan, Yvonne Doran, Pinergy Orwell Wheelers CC, from Thomastown, Leinster Road Race Champion, and Cllr. Pat Fitzpatrick, Cathaoirleach Kilkenny Co. Cll
Rás na mBan returns to Kilkenny – new for 2022, cyclists of all ages and abilities are invited to cycle the Criterium route!
Rás na mBan, Ireland's international bike race for women, will take place over five days and six stages, from Wednesday, September 7, until Sunday 11th. Riders from all over the world are set to do battle over 400km of racing on six separate stages on some of the most beautiful roads in and around County Kilkenny.
The first stage will see the international field of riders set off from the Hoban Hotel, with a stage finish in Callan at approximately 6.45pm. The route will include two laps of a 13km finish circuit which will offer spectators at the finish line three chances to see the riders during the race.
The day two race to Inistioge includes a grippy and spectacular conclusion at Woodstock, with an expected finish at 1.45pm.
The day three ‘Queen Stage’ sees the race move to the Slieve Bloom mountains in Laois and once again features a finish in the spectacular surroundings of The Cut following a start in Portlaoise.
Saturday’s 92km stage finishes in Piltown at approximately 2.15pm and includes two laps of the Templeorum circuit and demanding ascents of the Sweep.
The final day of the race on Sunday, the 11th, brings the riders back to Kilkenny City for two stages centring on the imposing edifice of Kilkenny Castle. In the morning, with a 9am start, the riders will face individual 2.5km time trials, starting out on The Parade and completing a technical route with sharp cornering along by Canal Walk and around the walls of the Castle against the watch.
The final stage of the week is the hugely popular circuit race in Kilkenny City Centre, the fastest stage of the week, approximately an hour and fifteen minutes of high-octane city centre racing after which the champion of Rás na mBan 2022 will be crowned.
This year, the Rás na mBan team want to focus on participation opportunities for the local community and will host Féile Rás na mBan for all ages with a range of activities, challenges, Learn to Cycle training and bike maintenance workshops.
The highlight of the Féile will be the opening of the Criterium route to cyclists and people on wheels of all ages and abilities. People are invited to gather from 11am at The Parade to join a leisurely cycle on the Criterium route and experience traffic-free Kilkenny streets.
This will be followed by opportunities for cyclists to take on the criterium route at a faster pace and race towards the same finish line used by the Rás na mBan stars immediately afterwards. Kilkenny Brass and Reed Band will provide entertainment and refreshments will be available throughout the day.
Féile Rás na mBan is a joint collaboration between Sport Ireland, Kilkenny County Council and Rás na mBan with the grateful assistance of Cycling Ireland and Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership. A full timetable of activities can be viewed at http://www.rasnamban.com/feile/.
Race Director Valerie Considine believes the 2022 route will challenge the riders and offer an opportunity to further showcase the beauty of Kilkenny City and County: “The move to Kilkenny six years ago has been overwhelmingly positive for Rás na mBan and we’re looking forward to another great week of racing through the beautiful countryside.
"Sunday’s final day has a very different look to previous years and the morning time trial followed by the afternoon circuit race combine to make both the shortest and fastest racing of the week. The city centre circuit has been a highlight of the event over the last few years. It’s a thrilling spectacle and we would encourage people to come in and support the riders and enjoy the Féile activities on offer.”
An Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. Pat Fitzpatrick, is delighted that Kilkenny are in a position to bring top class bike racing to the city.
“Rás na mBan continues to showcase the top international and Irish racers and inspire the next generation of Irish cyclists. The Féile allows us to offer activities for all the family and we hope our efforts will inspire more people to get on their bikes and enjoy this amazing event.”
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