MITCHELSTOWN is to host a stage of the 2013 An Post Rás, and the international cycling competition is to visit a number of Cork towns this year, it was revealed this week.
The route for the cycle, now in its 60th year, was revealed at the Rás launch in Dublin on Monday.
On Thursday, May 23 the fifth stage of the cycle will see competitors depart from Glengarriff and travel 150km to Mitchelstown via Macroom, Millstreet, Rathcool, Banteer, Mallow, New Twopothouse, Doneraile and Kildorrery.
The sixth stage leaves the North Cork town the next day.
Speaking at the event launch this week Rás organiser, Tony Campbell said the mixture of flat and mountainous stages was designed to strike the right balance while also providing the amateur riders with a better chance of competing against the top teams.
"It is a different type of course this year. The route designer, Stephen O'Sullivan wanted to make some changes. The first three stages are pretty flat, which will keep the time gaps close and the suspense high. You don't need the hills to have good racing. It's up to the riders to be aggressive and to break things up.
"Part of the thinking was to provide encouragement to the Irish riders to race, as they should be able to compete against the professional teams. The stages are of a length to encourage them to race hard over that distance. But there are also a couple of stages with plenty of hills, and that will give the climbers the chance to make a difference", Campbell said.