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Slaney CC hosts FBD Insurance Ras

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

The Slaney Cycling Club has a strong tradition cycling, particularly on the organisational front. The club has the distinction of being the organisers of stage two of the Tour de France when it visited Ireland in 1998. Then, it demonstrated a willingness, in conjunction with all the local authorities, to put on a first class show. Admittedly, the sun shone on the Co. Wexford town on July 12, 1998.

Slaney CC is back to show those skills again, albeit in the absence of the late Eddie Tobin, who was the commander-in-chief back then. Liam Ruth and his committee aim to put on a show of importance for anybody that visits the town next week in conjunction with the FBD Insurance Ras.

In an effort to raise awareness of the RAS stage finish in the town centre on Sunday week, the club has organised a weekend of cycling events in the town. On Thursday evening, May 18, it is running a eight km time trial. The event is part of the County Wexford club's cycling calendar and is open to Cycling Ireland licence holders. Friday evening sees a novelty/family leisure cycle of about eight km to Enniscorthy’s highest point, the historic Vinegar Hill. The event is being run to benefit the HOPE cancer care organisation and the club hopes to also have local political and sports personalities take part.

On Saturday May 20, the Mount Leinster Challenge will be staged. It is a cyclosportif/leisure event over three distances: Gold (150km), Silver (100km) and Bronze (50km). The Silver includes one of ascent of Mount Leinster while the Gold route takes in two climbs of Mount Leinster, including the dreaded Corrabutt Gap, the scene of many decisive attacks over the years in the FBD Ras. The bronze event will suit anyone of reasonable fitness looking for a challenge. The event will be fully supported by lead car and broom wagon with several refreshment stops along the way. Slaney CC intends to make it a regular event on the leisure cycling calendar in the years to come.

On Sunday afternoon, the FBD Insurance RAS sweeps into town along the Dublin road, across the town's two bridges, over the River Slaney, to finish on Duffry Hill in the town centre. The finish is spectator friendly, just a few metres from the Tour de France stage start point of 1998, and the club expects a large turnout to welcome the riders to town. Monday morning sees the RAS depart for Cobh, County Cork.

More information: www.slaneycyclingclub.com

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