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01 Jul 2022

Stunning North Kilkenny climb features in today's Rás Tailteann

Kilkenny Kilkenny

Dean Harvey of Team Ireland and Dean Watson of the Embark Bikestrong team lead the chasing bunch on the descent of Deenside, North Kilkenny. Pic : Lorraine O'Sullivan

North Kilkenny, and the tricky climb from Castlecomer to Ballyragget, featured on the first day of the Ras Tailteann, today.

Making a welcome return for the first time since 2019, one of the international cycling stage race's first key stages came through Co Kilkenny.

The 67th edition of the race take place between June 15th-19th and will travel clockwise around  Ireland with stage finishes in Horse and Jockey, Castleisland, Lisdoonvarna, Kilbeggan, before starting  the final stage in Kinnegad to the finishing circuit in seaside town of Blackrock, Co. Louth. Riders will  cover 756km with 8 categorised climbs which will act as a platform for attacking riders to battle it out  for the coveted Rás yellow jersey. 

The protagonists and animators of daily stage finishes, in particular the sprinters that compete for and  chase this classification in An Rás, often become household names on the world stage. Just think of Ireland's own Sam Bennett, John Degenkolb or Mark Cavendish who have all gone on to dominate as sprinters on  the world stage. Winning the same classifications in the most famous of them all, Le Tour de France.

Today's  stage kicked off from Tallaght Stadium this morning and made its way through Wicklow, Kildare and Laois before reaching Kilkenny. Cyclists went through Castlecomer then towards Ballyragget, and on to Freshford and Urlingford.

Well known to local cyclists, the route from Castlecomer to Ballyragget is a steep climb, and the Rás participants will be competing for KOH (climbing) points.

Leader of Ras Tailteann after day one is Ulster Racing's Matthew Teggart (pictured below).

Rás Tailteann Stage 1 Race leader Matthew Teggart of Cycling Ulster
Pic : Lorraine O'Sullivan

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