One of the unique aspects of the An Post Rás, which starts tomorrow, is that the field is made up of a combination of full-timers from UCI Continental and National teams, and also domestic teams from Ireland.

This year sees national teams from Canada and New Zealand and Continental teams from Austria, Australia, Belgium and the UK amongst other countries taking part. There will also be 18 Irish domestic teams lining up and the vast majority of these riders hold down full-time jobs and have to work their training around their jobs, study and family life.

We’ll be publishing regular updates during the race from one of these Irish riders who’s making his debut in the race, Mick Leonard. Mick will be representing the Dublin Lucan Stagg Cycles Team, and below he explains his journey to the start line of the Rás.


I’m not much of a writer so I’ll keep this brief. As I sit here with only a few hours to go to my first Rás, I am excited but nervous. I have everything I can imagine I should need, packed and ready to go and I don’t think the bike has ever been so clean since the day I bought it! Similarly, I have to try and let those nerves go and be confident in the training I’ve put in (as have my teammates) and trust that the sacrifices and diligence (and even the early bed times!) will pay dividends this coming week.

Mick Leonard Bike

I started cycling four years ago, initially to just lose a few pounds and get fit again. It was also a great way to take my mind off college too. I used to look forward to the Saturday training sessions, even after some very tough spins where I might get dropped or would be running on fumes coming into the coffee stops (the church steeple in Maynooth can be a fine beacon when you’re running on empty!) I started racing soon after I joined the club and caught the bug instantly.

Steadily, I got fitter and stronger (and lighter!) and started getting a result here and there and at the end of last season I got my upgrade to A2 as did a few of my teammates during the season. At the end of last year, there were a few of us now in A2 and we were all eager. This was when the possibility of a Lucan Rás team was discussed and we all started on a training program aimed solely at the Rás, which brings me to where I am this evening.

It’s been a tough enough few months at times with some long training hours, big miles, and some hard racing but I’m looking forward to my first Rás: tearing through towns around the country, lineouts out of corners, and, of course, some savage speeds. I just hope all the pieces fall into place, we ride well and we are able to look back on each stage afterwards and enjoy it as we did in the Tour of the North where Neil O Connor got this great pic of us after a stage (me in the middle).

Mick Leonard II

I’ll try to keep you updated as I go,




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