It’s just over three weeks ago that the 2014 An Post Rás got underway with the customary start in Dunboyne on Sunday 18th May and thanks” to the overwhelming support that the riders received as they embarked on a gruelling eight days of racing.
“The atmosphere was incredible at the start. You could sense the adrenaline in the air. The Dunboyne locals always come out in their droves to support the race and I didn’t expect it to be any different this year. The riders - particularly the county riders - put so much in to train for the Rás and you could see all of their friends and families come out to support them so it was wonderful to see.”
The riders began the gruelling eight days of hard racing by setting off from Dunboyne, making their way 150 kilometres across the country to the first stage finish in Roscommon. An Post Chain reaction Sean Kelly team dominated the opening stage to claim a magnificent first and second place finish. Robert Jon McCarthy, who was born in Cork but emigrated to Australia at the age of 14, took the spoils and the 19 year-old was overjoyed with the victory.
“Just to be racing back in Ireland was really special for me. The buzz around Dunboyne at the start was amazing. I had butterflies just walking around, taking in the atmosphere and I was over the moon to be first rider to wear the yellow jersey. It was an amazing feeling.”
After eight punishing days in the saddle it was the shy, unassuming Austrian rider, Clemens Fankhauser (Austria Tirol Cycling) who wore the coveted yellow jersey, becoming the 2014 An Post Rás Champion.
Fankhauser acknowledged the victory as the best day in his cycling career and the Austrian was full of praise for the Irish crowds who turned out to cheer on the peloton.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be crowned the An Post Rás champion. It’s been a very hard eight days but it’s something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. The Irish people have been so nice to me and my team mates and it’s been a real adventure. The atmosphere in each of the towns was amazing. I have raced all over the world but I don’t think anything compares to the passion the Irish fans have for this race. I really am honoured to be the champion.”