Sunday 8 December 2019

Rás revived as famous Irish road race to make return in 2020

Liam Curley (centre) competing with the Team Ireland Junior cycling team in France
Liam Curley (centre) competing with the Team Ireland Junior cycling team in France

Ciarán Lennon

The Rás is set to make a return to the Irish cycling calendar for 2020 in a reduced format and under a new organisation.

A newly-formed promotions group Cáirde Rás Tailteann is to take the reins from the Cumann Rás Tailteann club in a bid to get the race back on the road after the eight-day international race was cancelled earlier this year for the first time since its first edition in 1953.

The race has been without a sponsor since An Post ended its relationship after the 2017 event, and organisers were unable to find a sponsor to cover the, roughly, €300,000 cost of running the event. The costs for 2018 were covered by a once-off savings fund.

"The historical organisers confirmed that they will not themselves run an event in 2020, but are delighted to see the race go ahead under new organisers, with Cumann Rás Tailteann’s and the Dignam family’s full support," a statement read.

"The promotions group will continue to follow the historical identity of the Rás Tailteann in the ethos of County and International teams."

The race will not be a UCI event in 2020 which should help reduce the costs of hosting the event.

The statement added: "The 2020 edition of the Rás is likely to be over fewer days, possibly five, but the new organisers endeavour to promote this unique Irish race back to its UCI status in the coming years over eight days."

Rás Tailteann race director Eimear Dignam, who followed in the footsteps of her father Dermot, is happy to hand over the baton so the event can make a welcome comeback.

"We are thrilled to see this legendary race continue. It has a special place in the hearts of not only the cycling community in Ireland, but also now in the hearts of those who’ve competed in it from around the world," she said.

"We know the new organisers extremely well, having worked with them on the race for many years, and we’re delighted to have them take up the mantle."

Plans for 2020 are believed to be at an early stage but the news will be a significant boost to the domestic racing scene.

"We are honoured and excited about putting this race back on the calendar from 2020 and look forward to seeing all the old faces, and undoubtedly some new ones becoming Men of the Rás,” said Ger Campbell, from the new promotions group.

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