Cáirde Rás Tailteann 2020 Announce Race Details
Dec 19, 2019, 13:40
|Sean McKenna, Holdsworth Pro Cycling winning stage sic Mitchelstown to Carlow 2018 Rás Tilteann|
While up to eight teams from abroad will likely ride Rás Tailteann next June the race will be refocused on domestic riders, new route planner Ger Campbell has said.
The Drogheda Wheelers stalwart is among a six-man group that has assumed control of the race which will run Wednesday to Sunday in June.
Campbell and five others are part of a newly-formed promotions group, Cáirde Rás Tailteann. It has taken over the running of Rás Tailteann from Cumann Rás Tailteann.
As well as Campbell, the new group comprises Cycling Ireland president Ciaran McKenna and other well known figures on the domestic cycling scene and Rás volunteer group:
- Colm Rigley, former Cycling Ireland commissaire and former youth commission member, Rás volunteer and member of south Dublin CC.
- Former top international rider Eugene Moriarty who competed in 21 editions and has experience on the board of Cycling Ireland.
- Seamus Domegan, long-time Rás stage end coordinator and treasurer of Drogheda Wheelers
- Broadcaster Pat O’Shaughnessy, a former Cycling Ireland board member and Cuchulainn Cycling Club chairman.
|Matthew Taggert, An Post Chainreaction Team winning stage Three of the An Post Rás from Newport to Bundoran|
While Campbell was remaining tight lipped on the route, the race will begin in the Dublin area and will involve five stages.
Stages 1 to 4 are 148km, 155km, 174km and 154km with Stage 5 yet to be confirmed, though it will finish in the east of the country.
Campbell said the race will not venture into any major mountain ranges but there will be categorised climbs from early in the event, including one testing climb just before the finish of one of the early stages.
The UCI status has been relinquished, for now at least. And that means no Continental level teams will take part.
However, Campbell said because of the financial problems that have faced pro cycling in recent years, some formerly Continental level years had dropped down to elite status.
These would be eligible to ride Rás Tailteann but he said the focus would return to the domestic riders.
International teams will come to Ireland for the event but will be in the minority.
“There would be nothing stopping national teams entering,” he said. “We had the Swiss team and Belgian teams in recent years and that could happen again under the non-UCI race.
“But in some respects the idea is to give the race back to the domestic riders. We may have seven or eight teams from abroad and then about 25 Irish teams with a maximum of 176 riders in total.”
He said the racing would still be challenging and that with many top riders just squeezed out of the shrinking Continental team ranks in recent years and some Continental teams now riding as elite squads, the foreign visitors would be strong.
The organisers also wanted an Irish national team in the race and they believed that would happen.
|Eoin Morton winning stage two of the 2016 An Post Rás from Mullingar to Charleville 2016|
It is also likely some A3 riders will be permitted to ride. Since 2014 only A2, A1 and A+ cyclists were eligible for the event.
“It is not confirmed yet but we are looking at some kind of arrangement whereby teams may be permitted to have a certain number of A3s,” he said.
All of the trophies presented for the various category winners and the overall victor would continue to be awarded.
And with the race run under the same name and featuring some international riders, Campbell believed continuity was assured and the race’s history would continue to be written.
“Our focus is to get next year’s event on the road and whatever happens after that; we will see,” he explained.
“But I think it’s important it happens next year. You can get away with the race being missing for one year but if it goes for two years or more then there is a chance it would just fade into the memory.”
He added anyone who had been approached so far from the long-standing army of Rás volunteers had shown enthusiasm for next year’s edition.
And while there was no sponsor yet secured, deals were in place for vehicles and other items such as classification jerseys.
The prize money would remain and though not at the levels of previous years Campbell said it will be close to previous levels.
|Eddie Dundar Ireland National Team winning stage Seven of the 2016 An Post Rás from Dungarvan to Baltinglass|
The event would not require international commissaires and while it would also be run with fewer officials there would be no compromise on safety.
“We have already checked out about 80 per cent of the route and booked accommodation. We were eager to get as much done as we could before Christmas,” he said, adding he was happy with progress to date.