Team News – Gullen’s Irish Exam


James Gullen (Pedal Heaven RT) has been doing his homework ahead of the An Post Ras in Ireland which starts today

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Team News – Gullen’s Irish Exam


The 27-year-old, from Kippax in Yorkshire, has admitted a raft of unfamiliar rivals will pose some fresh questions during the eight-day battle for glory. The 64th edition of the prestigious race gets under way with a 144.6km stage from Dublin Castle to Multyfarnham on Sunday.

Gullen, who finished 48th on general classification on his maiden visit to the race in 2012, has already been studying the route for this year’s scrap and he reckons it should suit the five-man Pedal Heaven team, which also features Tour of the Reservoir winner Joe Fry, Dexter Gardias, Lloyd Chapman and Harrison Jones.

However, he admits they know little of what to expect from their opponents from teams based in continental Europe. Gullen, who finished second in the Motorpoint Spring Cup, said: “We have a really strong team going over and any one of us could do well in the overall. I have had a good look at the route. Year on year it changes but this one does seem to be quite hilly, which should suit us”.

“I did it in 2012. It was quite a hilly route back then, too. Looking at the route profiles this season, we go over some pretty big passes and the last three or four days look really tough. You obviously get the British UCI teams going over. But then you have teams from Germany, the Netherlands and the like, on top of all the county teams from Ireland”.  .. continued after advert2016_ShuttVeloRapideAdvert

“When you enter a domestic race, you know so-and-so from Madison, or someone from JLT is going well and you look out for them. But some of these German UCI teams could have riders just as good as us but you don’t know who they are. That makes it harder to know what move to follow or who to mark. You could be on the best day ever but miss out on the key move because you don’t know the riders.”

“Then there are the local county teams. They race each day like it is just a national road race, they all want to be in the break, especially if it is going through their town or their county. So they are just attacking all day, almost riding a different race to the teams who are going for the overall.”

“And because they have their own agenda, you can’t worry if three or four Irish guys are going full gas in the first 15km. But you don’t want someone getting up the road with them who is dangerous in the overall because you won’t see them again.”

With 1,235km covered and 25 categorised climbs tackled in eight stages, the team’s powers of recovery will be tested to the limit. But Gullen is confident his body will withstand the challenges the gruelling contest presents as he relishes his return to Ireland. He added: ‘There are those people who may be good one day but three or four days in they are not the same rider”.

“Recovery is a big thing and that makes it a fascinating race. I’m sure I can last the pace for the whole eight days. Everyone will tire. You can’t race like it is a Premier Calendar each day. But as long as you don’t tire any more as other people, that is the goal.”



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