The five-day Ras de Cymru, one of Britain’s biggest stage races for lower category riders, kicks off in Wales on Wednesday, July 1.
Nicole Cooke and Emma Pooley used last year’s race as a springboard for Olympic success, showing what a tough workout the Ras is.
The 81-strong field can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Pooley is not entered, so there will be no repeat of the Cervelo pro ripping the field apart on the mountainous final stage. Sadly, there are no women entered for 2009, the fifth edition of the event.
The 2008 Ras was won by South African Tim Carter, who had the good fortune to be draughted into the Great Britain women’s team.
The six-stage event is based at the University of Wales campus in Newport and sponsored by Newport & South East Wales Business Tourism.
Racing starts on Wednesday, July 1, with a short individual time trial in Llangybi.
Stage 1 – Wednesday, July 1, prologue TT
4 miles, Llangybi-Caerleon-Llanhennock
Stage 2 – Thursday, July 2, road race
53 miles, Abergavenny-Usk-Devauden-Mitcheltroy-Raglan-Abergavenny
Stage 3 – Thursday, July 2, team TT
15 miles, Abergavenny-Raglan-Abergavenny
Stage 4 – Friday, July 3, road race
59 miles, Caerleon-Usk-Raglan-Abergavenny-Usk
Stage 5 – Saturday, Jul 4, road race
68 miles, Storey Arms-Brecon-Dyfennog-Brecon-Dyfennog
Stage 6 – Sunday, July 5, road race
56 miles, Abergavenny-Brecon-Talybont-Llangynidr