145 Riders Lining Up In Tullamore Today For Rás Tailteann

The first stage rolls out of Offaly this afternoon.

145 riders, from teams from as far away as China and the United States, are descending on Tullamore for the start of this year's Rás Taitleann.

The first stage of the 69th running of Ireland's biggest stage race in cycling, rolls out of the Offaly town from O'Connor Square at around 12 noon.

Stage one runs through Five Alley, Birr, Riverstown, Borrisokane, eventually on to Holycross and Bruff, before finishing in Kilmallock after 147km. 

The peleton will include the Midlands Racing Team, which includes Westmeath riders Stuart Cox and Padraig Moran from Lakeside Wheelers, along with Shane Quinn from Longford Cycling and Racing Club, Streamstown CC's Colin Clavin, and Barry Ronan from Dunboyne CC.

Their team manager, Donagh McArdle, says there's no tougher race than the Rás:

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