A demanding eight days of competition faces the riders with the 61st edition of the race featuring over 1180 kilometres of cycling and no less than 33 categorised climbs, four of which are category one mountains.
Two time Rás winner and former Olympian Ciaran Power was on hand to launch the annual international cycle race at the GPO along with amateur county riders Brian Ahern and Robin Kelly and newly appointed Rás organiser, Tony Campbell.
Campbell, who recently took over the reins from Dermot Dignam, insists the mixture of flat and mountainous stages was designed to strike the right balance while also providing the amateur riders with a better chance of competing against the top teams.
“It is a different type of course this year. The route designer, Stephen O’Sullivan wanted to make some changes. The first three stages are pretty flat, which will keep the time gaps close and the suspense high. You don’t need the hills to have good racing. It’s up to the riders to be aggressive and to break things up.
A new aspect of the race for Irish riders will be the addition of a ‘County Rider’ jersey. This will spice up the action between the county teams as they compete to claim the jersey and local glory that goes with it on each day of the race.