Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Race Around Ireland 2010 - Start Pics and Race Update

The Race Around Ireland is now nearly two days old and what a couple of days it's been for the riders. Gale force winds and driving rain have made it even more gruelling than usual. I find myself looking out the window at the trees swaying and can't help feeling for the competitors as they grind down the west coast into that wind.

The severity of the conditions were summed up by one of Thomas Ratschob's support crew, who posted on their blog, after he'd crested the Gap of Mamore, that "Thomas has just experienced my absolute nightmare: rain, wind, 25% slope on ca.4km and this on the bike." At that point Thomas was leading by some distance. However, he was suffering quite a bit in the conditions and decided to rest near Sligo for longer than he'd planned.

On the bright side, updates on the race Facebook page suggest that the stretch from Clifden to Galway has a strong tailwind, giving some relief to the riders. Plus they even saw some sub today!

Amazingly, given the awful conditions, only one rider has abondoned so far. That was Navan's Ricky Geoghegan who was forced to pull out yesterday morning with knee problems.

At time of writing the state of play is:

1st Bernd Paul (GER), 2nd Eoin Ryan (IRL), 3rd Sean O'hIarnain (IRL), 4th Thomas Ratschob (SWI) all of whom are somewhere between Oranmore and Kilkee, 5th Tim Veremans (BEL), 6th Donncha Cuttriss (IRL), 7th Valerio Zamboni (MON), who are all between Clifden and Oranmore, 8th Leslie Holton (USA), between Castlebar and Clifden, 9th Ian Campbell (NI) and 10th Wyatt Van Wendels (UK), both between Sligo and Castlebar.

Of the two-man teams, Wheels of Destiny are leading. They are currently between Oranmore and Kilkee, as are The Underdogs.

(Follow their progress on the race website, http://www.racearoundireland.com/racer_positions.asp, or on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=65259278668&ref=ts)

I want to wish the four-person and eight-person teams, who start tonight, the best of luck for their races.

Finally, after much battery trouble, here are some pics from the start in Navan on Sunday night. Apologies for the poor quality. It was dark!
Last years winner, Joe Barr, interviewed before the start by PJ Nolan.
Current leader, Bernt Paul (Germany)
Valerio Zamboni (Monaco)
Tim Veremans (Belgium)
Tim Veremans (BEL) rolls off the ramp.
Radio DJ, Wyatt Van Wendels (UK)
Sean O hIarnain (Ireland)
Eoin Ryan (Ireland)
Ricky Geoghegan (Ireland)
Thomas Ratschob (Switzerland) about to start.
Cancer survivor, Ian Campbell (N. Ireland)
Wheels of Destiny (Ireland). They are John Mahon and Murt Rice.
The Underdogs (Ireland). They are Niall Doggett and John Tormey.

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