A mass gallop is possible on the penultimate day of racing on Saturday May 27th . This covers 157 kilometres from Tramore to Kildare and while it is mainly flat, it does include the category two slopes of Brown Mountain (km 34.2) and the category one climb of Clogrennane (km. 98.8). The racing will also be shaken up by Post Office Primes at Gowran (km. 70.2) and a memorial prime for Rás great Paddy Flanagan in Kildangan (km. 145.7).
Despite those stimuli to aggressive racing, the distance between the top of the Clogrennane climb to the finish could potentially be long enough for some of the sprinters who had been distanced to get back to the front.
In other years, the second-last day has seen the riders slug it out over several peaks in the Wicklow Mountains. Dignam explains why O’Sullivan has opted not to choose this type of course. “Stephen is of the opinion that on a stage where there are three or four category one KOMs, the race breaks up on the first hill and everyone falls into their own group. But on the type of stage he has designed here, riders might be getting it tough but be able to hang on, then attack later.
So, rather than hitting the mountains early and the whole thing splitting up and
staying that way, here you will hopefully have the leading groups changing and being caught, and more attacks going. It makes for a really interesting penultimate stage. Also, something that is very different to the usual mountain finale we would have on the Saturday.