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First Time Ever Slovenians For FBD Milk Ras.
By Press Release 14-05-2004
May 14, 2004

The strength of the international opposition in the FBD MILK RAS has soared skywards with the news that Slovenia will be represented for the first time ever when the gruelling 8 day international cycle race moves off from the GPO next Sunday week. In a surprise announcement Srecko Glivar, Directeur Sportif of Team Perutnina PTUJ, one of the strongest professional teams in UCI Division 3 ranks, has confirmed his team of Slovenian riders will take part in the big Irish event from Sunday 23rd to Sunday 30th May. The team is led by experienced 36 year old, Valter Bonca and includes Igor Kranjec, Mitja Mahoric, Massimo Demarin and Maran Kelner, all used to competing at the highest level on the tough European circuit.

The decision by Team Perutnina PTUJ means the Irish national team of David O'Loughlin, Tommy Evans, Eugene Moriarty, Denis Lynch and Dave McCann now face the formidable challenge of pro teams from Slovenia, Germany, and Scandinavia, and national and regional teams from Britain, Kazakhstan, Wales, Germany and the USA. Thirteen county teams make up a very impressive field of 145 riders.

The race starts from the GPO at 12.30 on Sunday 23rd and finishes in the Phoenix Park the following Sunday, Exciting stage finishes will draw huge crowds in Trim, Oranmore, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Millstreet, Seskin hill near Carrick-On-Suir and Tullow.

Almost thirty major mountain climbs, a marathon 181 kilometres from Charleville to Cahirciveen and a premier category mountain top stage finish in Carrick-On-Suir are the highlights of a very challenging and demanding route for this year's FBD MILK RAS 8 Day International Cycle Race, which starts from Dublin on Sunday 23rd May. The National Dairy Council and FBD Insurances again, for the 22nd year, sponsor the race. In a one thousand kilometres anti-clockwise course around the country the top class field of 145 riders will contest thrilling stage finishes in Trim, Oranmore, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Millstreet, Seskin Hill Carrick-On-Suir, Tullow and the grand finale in the Phoenix Park on Sunday 30th May.

In a rare break form traditional town centre stage finishes Seskin hill, straddling the Tipperary/Waterford boundary less than two kilometres from the centre of Carrick-On-Suir, provides the setting for an Alpe d'huex type mountain top finish to Stage 6 on Friday 28th May. After 151 kilometres  from Millstreet on mainly flat roads giving fast, attacking racing the 1.5 kilometre extremely steep Seskin Hill, made famous by the exploits of Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche during the Nissan Classic, will present an awesome finish. The thousands of spectators expected to flock to the narrow twisting  road will witness up close courage, anguish, determination, surrender to physical and mental exhaustion and most of all, suffering, as the riders draw on their final reserves in a bid to win this historic stage.

On paper the course for this tear's tough encounter seems to favour the mountain climbing specialist with the likes of Kerry's Coonanaspig and Coomakiata, Cork's Inchee Mountain, Carlow's Corrabutt Gap and Mount Leinster, and of course Seskin hill, included as first category climbs. however, the sprinters will have their opportunity of building up valuable wins and time on the fast, reasonable flat, stages to Trim, Oranmore and Charleville, ant the Phoenix Park on Sunday 30th May. It's certainly a route that has all the ingredients to enhance the worldwide reputation of the FBD MILK RAS as an extremely gruelling and competitive eight days of racing.


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