Latest Laois Sport: Slieve Bloom Summit Finish should decide Ras na mBan winner

Latest Laois Sport: Slieve Bloom Summit Finish should decide Ras na mBan winner

Latest Laois Sport: Summit Finish on ‘The Cut’ will see Ras na mBan riders bloom or wilt

An all new time trial around the walls of Kilkenny Castle and a final stage city centre circuit race are among the highlights of the 2022 Rás na mBan route announced today.

Top bike racers from all over the world will return to Kilkenny in the first week of September for the 16th running of an event which attracts Olympians and world championship riders to face the challenging roads of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Ireland’s international stage race for women returns with a familiar format featuring four road race stages of varying length and difficulty, a time trial and a circuit race which for a sixth time centres on the beautiful city of Kilkenny.

The 2022 running of the event begins on Wednesday September 7th with six stages taking place over five days in and around the race base in County Kilkenny.

Once again, the route offers a variety of challenges, from testing hilly stages including the stage three summit finish to the ‘The Cut’ in the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Laois, to the stage five time trial on Sunday where riders will ride solo against the watch on the new Kilkenny Castle course.

For a second year the race begins in the west of Kilkenny County on Wednesday 7th September with a stage finish in Callan and two laps of a 13km finish circuit which will offer spectators at the finish line three chances to see the riders during the day.

The other stages cover roads which will be familiar to fans of Rás na mBan from previous years while also introducing new challenges for the riders. The day two race to Inistioge includes a grippy and spectacular conclusion at Woodstock.

The day three ‘Queen Stage’ in the Slieve Bloom mountains once again features a finish in the spectacular surroundings of The Cut following a start in Portlaoise.

Saturday’s race to Piltown mirrors the second stage of the previous two editions of Rás na mBan. The familiar route includes the two laps of the Templeorum circuit including demanding ascents of the Sweep.

The final day of the race brings the riders back to Kilkenny city for two stages centring on the imposing edifice of Kilkenny Castle, one of the most popular visitor sites in Ireland.

Summit finish in Slieve Blooms should decide who wins Ras.

In the morning the riders will face a 2.5km time trial around the walls of the castle as the specialists against the watch have an opportunity to offset the advantage enjoyed by the climbers on previous stages.

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.

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 ride to The Cut on stage three begins in Portlaoise and is a welcome third visit for the race to County Laois. I’m certain the riders and spectators are going to love the race challenge and the beautiful scenery in the Slieve Bloom Mountains on Friday 9th September.

“The hilltop finish on The Cut follows the tough ascent of Wolftrap Mountain and with two tough climbs on the day, it’s sure to be a great test. The Rás na mBan summit finish has become established as a wonderful occasion in the cycling calendar.

Full route details and map links for the 2022 Rás na mBan see below.
Note: Timing and route details remain provisional. See for up to date details.
2022 ROUTE
The route for the 16th edition of Rás na mBan includes six stages and five days of racing on the roads of picturesque County Kilkenny for the riders in early September. Details with map links below

DateDayStageSTAGE DETAILSStage Start LocationStart TimeDistanceStage Finish LocationExpd.
07/09/22Wed1Kilkenny (SHC) – Danesfort – Stonyford – Knocktopher – Kilmaganny – Windgap – Callan
Spring Hill Court Hotel (SHC)16:45pm75.3kmCallan6.35pm
2Kilkenny (SHC) – Kells – Dunamaggin – Thomastown – Inistioge – The Rower – Graignamanagh – Thomastown – Inistioge
3Portlaoise – Abbeyleix – Mountrath -Mountmellick – Clonaslee – Kinnitty – Wolftrap -The Cut
Laois County Council12pm96kmThe Cut, Slieve Blooms2:30pm
4Kilkenny (SHC) – Stoneyford – Knocktopher – Ballyhale – Mullinavat – Piltown – 2 laps of circuit via Templeorum – The Sweep – Piltown
5Individual Time Trial – Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle9am2.5kmKilkenny Castle11am
The Parade – Nuncio Road – Waterford Road – Upper Patrick Street