All tracks led to the Inishowen Gateway Hotel on Sunday as the Donegal Rás team cycled into Buncrana. They were in town to announce the Inishowen Gateway Hotel as the team’s official sponsor for 2014.
With the Giro D’italia now finished up in Ireland it’s time to look ahead to An Post Rás, the annual, eight-day, stage race around Ireland. The race is Ireland’s number one cycling event and will take place from May 18 – 25, 2014.
The epic race began in 1953 and has been held every year since. It is one of Ireland’s top sporting events bringing world class sporting action and a significant economic boost to towns and villages nationwide.
The Rás has a worldwide reputation of being a gruelling challenge in the elite, international calendar. The open racing style allows amateur county and club riders to pit themselves against domestic and international professionals.
Hoping to win big at this year’s Rás will be the all new Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel, made up of 5 talented Donegal cyclists – former Irish Hillclimb Champion Ronan Mc Laughlin, former Donegal Time Trial Champion Conor Mc Ilwaine, reigning Donegal Time Trial Champion Rory Devlin, Donegal Veterans Champion Damian Lagan and first time national competitor Mark McClure. The team are managed by Chris McElhinney.
Rena Doherty from the Inishowen Gateway says “We are delighted to be sponsoring Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel and we would like to wish the team the best of luck and hopefully victory will be brought back to Donegal.
The team will be joined by the Gateway Girls, Aine Gleeson and Shareen Doherty, who will Tweet and Facebook live from the road to provide realtime information from the race to keep Donegal supporters up to date with the efforts of Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel, the official Donegal team. To stay connected with the team, the Inishowen Gateway Hotel invite you to like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. These pages will feature competitions and provide followers the chance of win exclusive race merchandise.
This year’s Rás covers 1260 kilometres over eight stages with 36 categorised climbs, beginning in Dunboyne, Co. Meath with stage finishes in Roscommon, Lisdoonvarna, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Clonakilty, Carrick on Suir, Baltinglass and finally Skerries.
The launch of Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel comes as the hotel reveals its latest summer promotion – Cycling Weekends. These dedicated weekend packages will offer a unique and tailor made cycling experience to suit both the amateur and professional cyclist. Ronan Mc Laughlin, former professional cyclist and the hotel’s resident cycling specialist, has designed the programme and can be on hand to discuss the rides and give advice to participants. Ronan can also lead groups out on the road subject to availability. Safe bike storage and post training care are available and a warm Donegal welcome is guaranteed. This is the perfect option for a training camp with specific training plans, challenging roads and healthy menu options.
Can Team Inishowen Gateway Hotel win big at this year’s An Post Rás? It’s looking positive if the team motto is anything to go by – “AYE WE CAN”!!
Ronan Mc Laughlin
Former professional Ronan cycled for 6 years with the Sean Kelly Team and has represented Ireland at the European and World Championships. He is also an Irish Hillclimb Champion and has finished within the top 10 at the All Ireland’s four times.
Conor is a full time amateur cyclist living in Belguim and is part of the Irish Development setup. In 2013 he raced to victory in the Donegal Time Trial Championship and came 4th in the Belgian Elite Race. In 2012 he was the Donegal Road Champion.
No stranger to the RAS, Rory has finished the race twice and is the reigning Donegal Road Champion and Donegal Time Trial Champion.
Damian hails from Clonmany and is a member of the North Pole Cycling Club. Damian competed in the RAS in 2011 and 2012, and finished the 2012 event with a broken collar bone-showing great character and determination. Currently he is the Donegal Veterans Champion, and recently rode well in the tour of the North and the Tour of Ulster.
2014 sees McClure step up to national level having won local club leagues including four Masters Cycling Championships and the Donegal Bay Cycling Championship in recent years.
Aine Gleeson is currently studying Psychiatric Nursing at the NUI Galway and works part time in her Family Business – Hegarty’s in Buncrana.
Shareen Doherty hails from Carndonagh and will begin her degree in Dental Nursing at Trinity in September.
The An Post Rás is an annual, eight-day, stage race around Ireland. The race is Ireland’s number one cycling event and will take place from May 18 – 25, 2014.
This is the fourth year of An Post’s sponsorship of the celebrated Rás Tailteann, which is more commonly known as The Rás. The epic race began in 1953 and has been held every year since. It is one of Ireland’s top sporting events bringing world class sporting action and a significant economic boost to towns and villages nationwide.
The Rás has a worldwide reputation of being a gruelling challenge in the elite, international calendar. The open racing style allows amateur county and club riders to pit themselves against domestic and international pr The 2014 An Post Rás route was revealed at the GPO on January 29 and looks certain to provide a challenging test. This year’s Rás covers 1260 kilometres over eight stages with 36 categorised climbs, including five category one climbs, Doonagore, Coomanaspic, Seskin Hill, Corabutt Gap and Mount Leinster.
The 2014 Rás is the 62nd edition of the race, and this year’s route is designed by cyclist, Stephen O’Sullivan. Stephen is a former stage winner and nineteen year veteran of the event.
The action gets underway on Sunday May 18 in Dunboyne, Co. Meath with stage finishes in Roscommon, Lisdoonvarna, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Clonakilty, Carrick on Suir, Baltinglass and finishing in Skerries.