KERRY is this week gearing up to host part of two stages in the An Post Rás.
Top international cyclists will be finishing stage three of the race in Listowel, a town with a proud history of competitive cycling relishing the prospect of hosting the Rás next Tuesday.
To cap it all for Listowel, two native sons are competing in the event, Eugene Moriarty and John McCarthy!
The third stage will finish in Listowel's Market Street on Tuesday, May 21, with cyclists expected in at 2.30pm on the day after 140 kms in the saddle. 400 bednights have already been confirmed by the town in a nice boost to the early summer season.
Stage four will see cyclists setting off from Listowel for Glengarriff, passing through Castleisland, Killarney and Kenmare on the day.
Organisers say that the 2013 An Post Rás is shaping up to be one of the most eagerly-contested competitions in the series yet.
"It's fantastic to see the An Post Rás return to Kerry," organiser Tony Campbell said. "I've no doubt it will be a fascinating day of racing, so I'm sure the locals will be out in big numbers to support the teams and riders as they jostle for that third stage victory," he added./
Listowel is expected to see the completion of the toughest stage in the peloton, as cyclists come in from a 141kms ride from Nenagh. "It's a tough stage as the route starts to get slightly hillier.
"There are two category three climbs and three sprints on this stage so it makes for an exciting day of racing," Mr Campbell added, who is also calling on Kerry schools along the route to come out and cheer on the 200 plus cyclists taking part.
Listowel Cycling Club is meanwhile organising a massive welcome party for the peloton, and are calling on traders to decorate windows with cycling memorabilia; national schools are holding an art competition and the Presentation Convent School Band will lead a parade into the Square to celebrate the stage finish.
The club ask that people be mindful of parking restrictions that will be in place.