Tour of Ireland; Stage 1:Powerscourt-Waterford 196 KM

Tour of Ireland; Stage 1:Powerscourt-Waterford 196 KM

A tough, rolling and picturesque stage that could produce a stage winning break or end in a mass bunch sprint as it did for Mark Cavendish on a similar route last year.From The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt, the riders will have to get into race mode quickly with the first King of the Mountains points available just 2km after the start.The sprinters get to stretch their legs at the first An Post Sprint of the day in Roundwood, as the race makes its way further into the pretty ‘Garden County’ of Wicklow and another An Post Sprint at Rathdrum. The biggest test of the day comes at 105km when the stage reaches its highest point at Mount Leinster in the Blackstairs Mountains, County Carlow.

The race then travels into Graiguenamanagh and out towards Thomastown via the 6km category 3 climb of Coppanagh. The sporting battle will intensify as the peloton sweeps down into the pretty village of Inistioge and turns sharp right up the steep category 2 climb which will ask questions of tired legs, as the field races towards Listerlin and eventually to Mullinavat, ready for the speedy run into Waterford City.

The final kilometre sign comes into view as they begin to cross the river bridge, from where they jostle for position before the sprint starts along Merchants Quay.

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