Cyclists in Race Around Ireland gather in Meath

Friday 29 August 2014 22.33
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Father and son Norman and James Beech from Cumbria, England are aiming to complete the 2200km race on a tandem bicycle
Father and son Norman and James Beech from Cumbria, England are aiming to complete the 2200km race on a tandem bicycle
James Smith's support team will follow the race in a converted horsebox
James Smith's support team will follow the race in a converted horsebox

Cyclists from around the world are gathering in Co Meath ahead of the start of one of the sport's toughest challenges.

Competitors in the Race Around Ireland have to finish a 2200km loop of the country in less than five days.

This gruelling schedule means they can expect to be on their bikes for up to 22 hours per day.

The race, which begins on Sunday in Trim, passes through 22 counties.

It will take in heritage sites and famous landmarks including Newgrange, the Giants Causeway, Malin Head, Connemara, the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, Mizen Head, Cork, Waterford City and the Wicklow mountains.

The winner of last year's race, Christoph Strasser from Austria, finished the challenge inside four days.

He had one 40 minute and four 20 minute sleeps for the entire race.

You can follow the route on the race's 24 hour tracking on its website