ATHLONE cyclist Keith Fox, also a renowned local physiotherapist, finished a highly commendable 70th (out of 170 riders) in the overall standings of this year's prestigious An Post Rás event.
Keith successfully participated in and completed all eight stages of the gruelling event, which is the biggest event in Irish cycling. This year's Rás was the 60th annual staging of the famous event, and attracted huge numbers of national and international teams.
Keith was invited to represent the Galway Black Rose team at this year's Rás, and his overall 70th placed finish was enough to see him also finish 17th in the County Rider Placings.
Connor McConvey, of Sean Kelly's An Post team, was best of the Irish overall in seventh place, while Adam Armstrong (Dublin Eurocycles) took best county rider in 14th place, just seven seconds off Ryan Sherlock of Tipperary Iverk Produce.
Speaking after the eight-stage race completed in Skerries last Sunday, Keith said: "It's a pretty rough race, a very tough schedule, but this is my fourth year racing it, and I'm gradually finding it more tolerable! It's very difficult for Irish part-time riders to compete against professionals, and it really showed in the big mountain stages in Donegal. My pre-race expectation was to finish in the top half, that was going to be progress for me, and I achieved that.
"I think a lot of people didn't expect me to reach 70th, so it's another step forward in terms of competing in the An Post Rás. Obviously, as a part-time rider, you're never going to win it, but it's great to complete the whole thing, and make another bit of progress up the standings. Hopefully, I'll compete in it again next year, and I'll be targeting a higher placing in the best county rider event."
The 36-year-old Athlone native is now taking a well-deserved small break from training, but will resume his rigorous regime ahead of the National Championships at the end of June. Keith will also "more than likely" compete in a couple of "smaller races" before then.
Keith is part of one of Athlone's most renowned sporting families. A first cousin of Garrycastle's Dolan family, his brothers, Mark, Alan and Robbie have all represented Garrycastle at senior level, while Damien turns out for Ballinahown's soccer team. Keith and Morgan have competed at a high level in cycling for some time, while Keith is also a renowned sports physiotherapist. His mother, Pat, is also a well-known figure in local hockey and Gaelic football circles.
French rider Nicolas Baldo was the overall winner of this year's An Post Rás.