Current leader of the 2017 National Series, Mark Dowling, pictured with Tom Browne, CEO Friends First and Ciaran McKenna, President Cycling Ireland.
Friends First and St. Tiernan’s Cycling Club recently launched the Friends First Laragh Classic and with it a new and exciting route for one of Ireland’s premier road races on Saturday 2nd September 2017.
As the final race in the Cycling Ireland National Series, the Laragh Classic, now in its 5th year, has established itself as a tough closing event which always produces a worthy winner. The former circuitous route based around the picturesque setting of Laragh, County Wicklow, has been altered for this year now incorporating one of Ireland’s most renowned climbs, the Wicklow Gap. Last crossed competitively in the An Post Rás in 2014 and forming part of the 1998 Tour de France on its visit to Ireland, the Gap brings an element not usually seen in domestic racing to the fore.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s race programme, Tom Browne, CEO of Friends First commended the ambition of a relatively young race and the new and exciting additions to the course, saying ‘The race is growing in stature year on year. This year’s course reflects the ambition of St. Tiernan’s and is a fitting finale to what has so far been an exciting 2017 Cycling Ireland National Series. Not only do we have a fantastic course for 2017 we are also hosting the first standalone women’s Friends First Laragh Classic which is something we and St. Tiernan’s are proud to be a part of.’