St Tiernan’s historic Ras

by Gazette Reporter

ST TIERNAN’S cycling club enjoyed an historic week as the Dundrum club entered the An Post Ras, the first time in their 30 year history to enter the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.2 ranked race.
Supported by sponsors Friends First, Parcel Zone and Brendan Bonnie Flooring, and some unwavering commitment, all five team members crossed the line in Skerries on Sunday to become ‘Men of the Ras’, the term which is now synonymous with any finisher of one of the professional cycling world’s most unique races.
The Ras allows professional teams mix with amateurs and it is the county teams that give the Ras its unique flavour. Conversely, getting to race for a week with professional riders gives the county men a taste of what professional racing is like.
In the case of the 2017 An Post Ras, the consensus was that it was one of the hardest editions yet.
The race, primarily based in the west of Ireland and Donegal, consisted of eight stages of mixed terrain, two big mountain stages in Donegal stood out and were the highlight of a tough but satisfactory week for the Friends First St. Tiernans team made up of Riders James Quinn, Adam Greally, John O’Regan, Niall Dwyer and Ronan Killeen.
Quinn said of Fridays stage: “The week had been taxing overall as the majority of the county riders, us included, wouldn’t have the experience of racing a stage race longer than four days. So Friday being a very tough stage was on people minds.
“The crowds on the Glengesh pass made up for any fears we may have had, spurring everybody on, and while competing with seven day-a-week professional bike riders is a big ask, the team acquitted itself very well for our first Ras.
“Adam had a particularly good week and the team and club are proud of the way he rode all race. To call ourselves ‘Men of the Ras’ is something that can’t be taken away. It is a special race.”
Greally, meanwhile, said of his week mixing it with some of Europe’s best and developing professional riders, “Coming into the race, we had prepared as best we could, we had a very high level of commitment in just getting to the start line.
“You quickly realise how hard and unpredictable the racing is when lined out in the gutter after 15 minutes of stage one!
“The professionals will pack their bags and go to another race next week to do the very same thing whilst the county riders will return to work.
“I am proud of the team and how we rode this week, it no mean feat to step up to this level and we have to thank our support crew and sponsors for helping us with this achievement.”

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