For the third year in a row, the UCD Team roll to the start line as defending champions but this time they will have to do it without 2011 and 2012 winner Colm Cassidy. However with the inform Eoin Morton and Ciaran O’Conluain riding for them, UCD could still have the men to watch out for.
Riding for “Polygon sweet nice” Charles Prendergast, who with his local knowledge of the roads and strong current form, will also be expected to have a say in proceeding’s over the weekend as will “Visit Nenaghs” Richard Hooton.
With strong provincial squads belonging to Seven Springs, Galway bay and Castlebar CC don’t rule out a Connaught rider stealing some of the Thunder over the weekend.
A Strong showing will be expected from local club riders during the meeting with Sean O Malley, who has moved from A4 to A2 this season, and Mark Quigley, former Irish U23 champion and RAS rider, they have two riders who have both the local knowledge and the ability to challenge.
With this event being part of the women National league, a strong female line up is expected. The handicap start will help the ladies who will be looking for a good work out for the upcoming Ras Na Mna, which is held in mid-September in Kenmare.
A new race route is sure to add some extra spice to the weekend. Stage one is a day very much for the climbers in the peloton with 5 categorised climbs in front of them including the hors catergory climb of Lallys mountain.
Day two is expected to be to the liking of the strong Roulers. The old “Ras Connachta” route will provide the setting for Sundays battle with 8 laps of the 13km route to be completed. The route profile does not tell the full story of this tricky stage!