The penultimate stage of the 2013 An Post Rás is arguably the toughest with eight climbs lurking on the menu in 141km.

Four of these are either first or second category, making for a very difficult day in the saddle.

Beginning in Carlow the riders will dispute the An Post post office sprint in Shillelagh (27.3km) before moving on to the early climbs of Ballythomas Hill (category two at 41.8km), Monalee (category three at 44.9km) and Annagh Gap (also category three at 47.4km).

After passing through Arklow and Woodenbridge, the peloton takes in the category three Cronebeg (73.3km) and second category Garrymore (81.4km), then heads up the Glenmalure Valley prior to the feared first category ascent of Drumgoff (92.5km).

Once past the summit and the memorial to Ireland’s first Tour de France maillot jaune Shay Elliott, the fragmented bunch will plummet down the tricky descent into Laragh, then turn left towards Glendalough and the first category Wicklow Gap climb (107.4km).

A long, sweeping descent takes the riders to the third category Slieve Corragh (122.3km), the final climb of the day, then on through Hollywood and Ballymore Eustace to the finish in Naas.

There is a long enough run-in from the last climb plus a good road, so there could be some sort of small regrouping.

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