Mark Downey on his Rás plans, where he thinks it will explode

Posted on: May 17th, 2017

Mark Downey on his Rás plans, where he thinks it will explode

Mark Downey on his Rás plans, where he thinks it will explode

Mark Downey rode a brilliant debut An Post Rás last year. And a lot has happened in the interim (Photo: Sean Rowe)


By Brian Canty

Mark Downey goes into his second An Post Rás in the national team on Sunday. He is keen to put the lessons of his debut in 2016 into practice.

It’s a very different team this year compared to 12 months ago. Then they had general classification man Eddie Dunbar to protect.

Dunbar is away on duty with Axeon Hagens Berman this time around. But in his absence the Irish team is still a very strong team.

They may well challenge for yellow next week. But their five-man roster of Eoin Morton, Angus Fyffe, Jake Gray and Downey has more of a stage-winning look about it.

“I’m excited for the week, I’m not really sure where the form is at,” said Downey.

“I’ve had a varied calendar since coming off the track but I’ll know after the first two days.”

“What I learnt about the Rás is just to race from the front. And when you think a move is gone the race is turned on its head.

“It is so unpredictable compared to any other 2.2 race and it isn’t over until you cross that line in Skerries.”

The course is harder, at least on paper, than last year and that should suit a strong climber like Downey.

“There are a few key days around Donegal where the race will take shape,” he said.

“Everyone’s always talking about the main climbs. But sometimes the race can already be gone by then.

“I think this year will be a different race than last year. Back then Australia had such control on the race and this year will be different.

Not missing the Rás boat

“I can imagine some breaks taking big time gaps and it’s just about not missing the boat.

“I think the day after Mamore Gap is a hard day and with tired bodies it could be a big day.”

With that in mind, Downey is just going to go with an eight one-day races attitude.

“I’ll be going out to race hard and try to have a few good days in stages and then see where the GC is at.”