A NORTH county Dublin town is preparing for its involvement in the most prestigious cycle race in the Irish calendar.
On Sunday week, May 27, after eight gruelling days of cycling, riders in the 2012 An Post Rás will cross the finish line in Skerries in what is expected to be an enthralling climax to the 60th edition of the famous race.
Last year saw huge numbers cheering the riders along the final stage route and this year Rás organiser, Dermot Dignam, is hoping to see similar crowds.
“There has always been a superb crowd in Skerries on each occasion the race has finished there,” said Mr Dignam.
“The battle among the teams to take that coveted Rás jersey home always makes for great viewing.”
The final stage sets off from Cavan at 11am with the peloton heading south in a 139 kilometre run to the stage finish in the seaside town and Mr Dignam is predicting plenty of action along the way.
“The final stage will be a difficult one,” he stated.
“Hopefully there’ll be another tremendous reception in Skerries. Swords cycling club, the Skerries Community Association, the Chamber of Commerce and others put in a lot of hard work each year, and it’s proved to be a wonderful finish to the race.”
Mr Dignam has also called on Dublin locals to support the riders as they pass through the county.
“This Rás will definitely be one of the most competitive in recent years and with the high calibre of riders taking part, I would encourage local communities, especially schools, to come out and cheer on the peloton as they make their way along the route,” he added.
Skerries will celebrate the final stage finish by hosting a massive street party from 12.30pm on the Sunday with a range of activities for all ages including street games, funfair, music and dance, face painting, magic shows and farmers’ markets.
The eight-day international cycling road race takes place from May 20 to 27. As well as the global feel to the event, the emphasis will again be on national, regional and top level sponsored amateur cycling teams.
For regular updates throughout the 2012 An Post Rás, visit www.anpostras.ie