Wednesday 12 December 2018

Rás sponsor a 'real possibility'

Stock photo: Getty
Stock photo: Getty

Ciarán Lennon

Rás Tailteann race director Eimear Dignam is hoping to have positive news from a potential international sponsor by the end of this week that could see the showpiece cycling event on the Irish calendar secured for 2019.

Race organisers are almost past their own self-imposed deadline to make a decision on whether to proceed with the event next year but Dignam says that negotiations with an international company are "very positive" while discussions with a separate Irish company are also still ongoing.

"We had a conversation with a company that are very interested," she said yesterday. "So at the stage, I've gone back to them with all the requirements and I'm waiting for them to come back to me. It's a very real possibility.

"Until it's signed on the dotted line we don't know where we're at, but the conversations and vibe we got are very positive. I think, hopefully, they'll make the decision this week."

The eight-day event has been without a title sponsor since An Post's withdrawal after the 2016 race and last year's Rás was financed by a once-off savings fund. Next year's race won't take place unless a sponsor comes on board to cover the minimum €350,000 costs.

"Both companies know we're under pressure to make a decision. I've told them we need to know really by next week but at the same time we're not going to cut off our nose to spite our face, if there's a real possibility and they need another week to make a decision," she explained. "The international company would bring a totally different perspective on the race."

Meanwhile, Seán Kelly has confirmed that he was unable to find a sponsor that would allow him to relaunch his Continental team which folded 12 months ago.

"We had some sponsors that we were talking to last year and we went back to, not in any great details, the Brexit situation has really put the brakes on with a lot of sponsors," he said.

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