Martyn Irvine has backed amateur Irish riders to use every ounce of their local knowledge to put it up to some of the best competitors in the world at this year's An Post Rás.

The 2016 route consists of some asking climbs, including Mount Leinster and Ballaghisheen Pass, as well as the usual rolling terrain and demanding conditions that make it such a battle of wits and physical prowess.

Recently retired former World Track champion Irvine launched this year’s route alongside Eddie Dunbar and Bryan McCrystal, and believes the county riders will be licking their lips when they see the route.

“The Rás is unlike any other race in the world," he said. "On one side you have the international riders coming from abroad and on the other you have amateur riders here who train on this terrain all year round chomping at the bit for a win.

"We saw it with the likes of Ian Richardson and Bryan McCrystal last year; they were putting it to the best riders from around the globe on every stage and it was great to see. I’m sure this year, after seeing the route, there will be Irish guys in the mix.”

"The Rás is unlike any other race in the world" - Martyn Irvine

Beginning at Dublin Castle and totalling over 1200km, this year’s edition will travel anti-clockwise around Ireland with stage finishes in Multyfarnham, Charleville, Dingle, Sneem, Clonakilty, Dungarvan and Baltinglass before the customary finale in Skerries.

It will fought out from 22 May to 29 May and Race Director Tony Campbell believes it will be one of the most exciting battles to date.

“A lot of riders thought it was going to be an easy An Post Rás last year due to the flatter roads, but they got a big surprise with how things worked out," said Campbell.

“This year has some big climbs but is also similar in profile to the 2015 edition, and should lead to some really exciting racing.

"There are an awful lot of rolling roads, and these will wear people down over the course of the week. It will be unpredictable, which will make it a thrilling spectacle.”

Details of the international teams set to join this year’s An Post Rás will be released over the coming months, although the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team has already committed to participating.

2016 An Post Rás Route [UCI 2.2, 22 May – 29 May]:

Stage 1, Sunday 22 May: Dublin Castle to Multyfarnham [144.6km]
Stage 2, Monday 23 May: Mullingar to Charleville [183.7km]
Stage 3, Tuesday 24 May: Charleville to Dingle [133.2km]
Stage 4, Wednesday 25 May: Dingle to Sneem [162.8km]
Stage 5, Thursday 26 May: Sneem to Clonakilty [148.3km]
Stage 6, Friday 27 May: Clonakilty to Dungarvan [159.1km]
Stage 7, Saturday 28 May: Dungarvan to Baltinglass [155km]
Stage 8, Sunday 29 May: Kildare to Skerries [148.4km]